Bottle drop: Asia drinks giant F&N launches recycling vending machines in Singapore

By Lester Wan

- Last updated on GMT

For every five aluminium cans or PET bottles you recycle with the machine, you will receive a reward voucher. ©NTUCFairPrice
For every five aluminium cans or PET bottles you recycle with the machine, you will receive a reward voucher. ©NTUCFairPrice

Related tags Recycling

Beverage manufacturer Fraser and Neave (F&N) and NTUC FairPrice supermarkets in Singapore have launched a ‘reverse vending machine’ to boost environmentally-friendly consumer behaviour in the city state, where household recycling rates remain stubbornly low.

The machines identify, sort out and collect the used bottles. The recycled bottles are then sent to recycling plants.

“Simply bring along your recyclable bottles or cans and feed it to any of the reverse vending machines to receive reward vouchers for every five units of PET bottles or aluminium cans recycled, which can be used to redeem drinks at participating FairPrice stores,” ​said NTUC.

According to machine distributor Incon Green Singapore, the bottles are compacted on site, reducing logistical and transportation needs.

Rewarding green behaviour, at a price

Users of the recycling machine have been given a S$0.50 voucher to purchase F&N Ice Mountain water at FairPrice supermarkets.

F&N said that this recycling initiative hopes to offer Singaporean shoppers a convenient option to recycle their used drink cans and bottles, as well as to “incentivise”​ recycling and green habits.

“Be rewarded when you go green,” ​its Facebook announcement starts.

NTUC encouraged shoppers to support their “sustainability efforts”​, and stated that the machines can be found at three of its stores.

This initiative is a collaboration between F&N, NTUC FairPrice, Frasers Centrepoint Malls and Incon Green.

While Incon Green had stated that there are about 14,000 machines in China, and more worldwide, there are currently only about 10 in Singapore.

The machines cost over US$10,000 each and companies or organisations lease or buy the machines.

Despite being one of Asia’s most developed nations, household recycling rates in Singapore are relatively poor, hovering around the 20% mark. In comparison, Taiwan has a household recycling rate of 55%. Germany 64% and South Korea 59%.

F&N on the up and up?

While F&N is pledging to help improve sustainability, its share prices have also been moving in the right direction.

In Singapore they hit a year-high of S$2.60 on January 10.

Meanwhile, in Malaysia, shares of Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd climbed to a record-high of RM28.34 last Monday.

F&N was established in 1883 as the Singapore and Straits Aerated Water Company. It was renamed upon the issuance of its shares to the public.

In 2013, F&N became part of Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s TCC Group, whose business is mainly in food and beverage, and real estate.

The TCC Group recently further expanded with the acquisition of Vietnam’s Sabeco​.

F&N’s product portfolio today includes isotonic drinks, bottled water, tea, milk, juices, soy drinks, carbonated drinks, tinned milk, yoghurt and snack bars, and its brands include Ice Mountain, Coco Life, F&N, F&N Fruit Tree, Oishi Green Tea, Farmhouse milk and NutriSoy.

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