Blackpool attraction has the bottle to help keep oceans plastic free

One of the Sea Life team uses the new recycling machine
One of the Sea Life team uses the new recycling machine
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A Blackpool attraction is doing its bit to help stop plastic getting into our ocean - with a 'reverse vending machine'

Leisure giant Merlin Entertainments has installed the device at Sea Life Blackpool to highlight the dangers plastic bottles can pose to marine life.

It allows green-minded visitors to recycle their used plastic drinks bottles by popping them in the machine to get a reward.

Situated prominently at the seafront aquarium, it offers 50 per cent off entry price at a host of parent company Merlin Entertainments’ attractions and parks all over the country, including the Blackpool Tower and Madame Tussauds.

In a move with Coca-Cola, visitors can recycle any plastic bottle to redeem a cut-price admission ticket and support the #WorldWithoutWaste campaign.

Last year Merlin Entertainments and Coca-Cola Great Britain won the Fellowship Award at the Corporate Entrepreneur Awards for their reverse vending machine initiative.

Voted for by the public, the award celebrates collaboration and doing things differently. The project was also a finalist in the Rising Star Award category.

The campaign’s objective is to improve the accessibility of recycling facilities, rewarding people for recycling more and also encouraging people who wouldn’t otherwise. Coca-Cola’s research revealed 64 per cent of Brits would recycle more on-the-go, if they were instantly rewarded.

Matthew Titherington, general manager at Sea Life Blackpool, said: “Plastic bottles represent one of the biggest pollutants in our oceans, often presenting a particular hazard to many marine species, with smaller creatures trapped inside and larger ones at risk of swallowing them.

"We’re pleased to be offering this ground-breaking initiative, which really rewards and incentivises people to recycle their plastic bottles. It’s an important step in the battle to reduce ocean plastics.”

The #WorldWithoutWaste campaign was the first in the UK to offer people a more valuable reward than the original price of the plastic drinks bottle they recycle.

By installing reverse vending machines, Merlin aims to educate a wide range of people about the recycling agenda, from families through to groups of friends. To date more than 26,000 bottles have been crushed and recycled, with discounted tickets to visit Merlin’s attractions issued.