Tesco has installed the UK's first fully automated recycling machine at its Winchester store.
Trials suggest that the new equipment, which automatically sorts plastic, metal and glass at up to 80 items a minute, will encourage customers to triple the amount of waste they bring to stores for recycling.
Tesco spokesman David Yormesor said the cost of the facility was shared between Tesco, local councils and Norwegian machinery manufacturer Tomra. It will be free for customers to use. He admitted Tesco would profit from selling on the collected material to recycling companies. "That's not what we are focusing on, but there is a fin-ancial benefit for us, of course," he said.
David North, Tesco's corporate responsibility director, claimed that the new facility made Tesco, which also has recycling initiatives for carrier bags, mobile phones, printer cartridges and Christmas cards, a "one-stop recycling centre".
If the Winchester scheme is a success, others will follow in Tesco stores nationwide.