Give back to give more - Bus Éireann & Grow Mental Health launch reverse vending machine

  • Reverse vending machines collect empty bottles and cans at Bus Éireann station in Letterkenny
  • Charity partnership with Grow Mental Health

Hugh Bonner, Kieran McShea and Jackie Herron of Bus Éireann in Donegal unveiling the new reverse vending machines at Letterkenny bus station

Bus Éireann, Ireland’s national bus company, is encouraging customers in Donegal to return their plastic bottles and aluminium drinks cans to the newly-installed reverse vending machine in Letterkenny bus station. 

Reverse vending machines assist in reducing single use plastics, while helping Ireland meet EU targets and promote a wider circular economy. 

Bus Éireann has fully committed to the forthcoming deposit return scheme by introducing its first ever reverse vending machine trial at Letterkenny bus station in Donegal, and Busáras in Dublin with plans to extend the trial to other stations around the country. Bus Éireann is one of the first transport operators in Ireland to introduce vending machines in their transport hubs.

There’s a charity element too – with €6,000 being donated to Grow Mental Health for the duration of the trial. This partnership follows on from a successful travel photo exhibition with stories of hope and recovery from Grow members and further promotes positive mental health and raises vital funds for Grow Mental Health. Grow is one of Ireland’s longest standing mental health charities, empowering and supporting over 1,000 people weekly, Grow Mental Health, which was set up in 1969, has recorded a 400% year on year increase in demand for services since the pandemic began. 

The reverse vending machines are supplied by Irish company Sensi Ltd and are capable of collecting and storing between 200-400 items at a time depending on the volume. The machines can accept PET plastic bottles up to two litres in volume and aluminium cans up to 500ml in volume.  

The cans and bottles are collected and recycled by Bus Éireann’s waste contractor. It is hoped the introduction of reverse vending machines in Bus Éireann stations will help the company achieve a 70% recycling rate by 2030 as part of our overall sustainability strategy “Driving Change 2021-2030''. 

"We are very pleased that Letterkenny bus statio is becoming one of the first transport hubs in Ireland to introduce reverse vending machines which will contribute to the forthcoming national Deposit Return Scheme and help contribute positively towards achieving national and EU waste targets,” said Emer Bambrick, Senior Sustainability Manager, Bus Éireann. “We are extremely happy that our customers in Donegal can use the reverse vending machines to recycle their empty plastic bottles and cans while  also giving back to such a good cause as Grow who do important work supporting people with mental health challenges right throughout the country. This is a great concept that makes recycling attractive to our customers, benefits the environment and gives back to society.'' 

We are delighted to benefit from Bus Éireann’s new recycling trial of reverse vending machines in Letterkenny and Busáras said Grow Mental Health, Chief Executive Officer, Michèle Kerrigan who welcomed the donations from the initiative. Grow Mental Health is a registered charity and we deliver Mental Health Education Programmes both within the community and the workplace. The aim of these programmes is to increase awareness of Mental Health, to outline the relevance of Mental Health in our daily lives and to focus on the importance of maintaining one’s own Mental Health and general sense of wellbeing. In addition, we provide peer support groups both online and face to face. The donation of €500 per month generated from this investment scheme will help many people with mental health issues across Ireland.” 

This partnership initiative is to promote recycling reward schemes in bus stations and promote positive mental health. Bus Éireann employs over 2,700 people, operates 1,100 vehicles, and facilitated 89 million passenger trips in 2019. Bus Éireann launched its first ever sustainability strategy in 2021, which encompasses targets for climate, waste, cities and communities, education, equality and safe work. 

Bus Éireann employees 80 people who live in County Donegal and carries over 9,500 students in Donegal on school transport each school day.  

Thursday, 28th July, 2022