“The roll-out of a UK DRS should consider a digital DRS approach instead of, or at least in addition to, a conventional DRS. The digital DRS allows consumers the convenience of recycling at home, which is the preferred option”

Queens University Belfast – School of Psychology

Whitehead NI Pilot

The Whitehead Pilot in Northern Ireland was the World’s First Public Digital DRS Trial. The pilot was run in collaboration with Bryson Recycling and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, with proud support from Britvic Ireland, PepsiCo and Encirc.

Queen’s University Belfast undertook an independent assessment of the pilot, using qual and quant methods to truly get under the skin of consumer attitudes and engagement. We presented these results in a recent webinar which saw over 100 attendees from governments and organisations around the world.

Below is a snapshot of the results…


Find it easy to recycle at home

only 5% would prefer to use an RVM instead of a digital DRS

13-80 yr olds

took part in the trial

the majority found the re-universe (previously Reward4Waste) app easy / very easy to download and use

The amount of people who would prefer to recycle at home is 70%

21p is the level of deposit that would incentivise use of digital DRS

vs 30p for a conventional RVM DRS model


say they would like the DRS to extend to all plastic waste

research has shown significant preference towards digital DRS 


are concerned over the lack of convenience a conventional RVM model would bring

Pilot details

  • Trial run in collaboration with Bryson Recycling and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
  • With proud support from Britvic Ireland, PepsiCo and Encirc
  • Trial run in Whitehead, Northern Ireland. Self contained town
  • 2000 households
  • No levy placed on participating items – only reward
  • Participating items: plastic drinks bottles including soft drinks and HDPE milk, drinks cans and glass
  • Participating items had unique stickers and could be purchased from 1 x local SPAR retailer
  • Kerbside recycling (weekly collections) + 4 x out of home (OOH) bins in litter hotspots
  • Residents downloaded app, purchased items from store, scanned the unique code on their home recycling box or out of home bins, and scanned the unique code on their empty drinks containers to register a recycle and redeem instant reward points

“We are so grateful to all the Whitehead community for standing alongside us for the past 6 years, helping us support adult patients with a cancer diagnosis. We are really looking forward to taking part in the Reward4Waste. Any money raised will help us to continue providing our service of free recuperation breaks by the sea.”

Hope House

“We are hugely proud at Britvic Ireland to be supporting the Reward4Waste initiative. We believe that our packaging should never become waste and making the recycling process as easy as possible is at the heart of that mission.”

Sian Young, Head of People & Planet – Britvic Ireland

“This is a great opportunity for local people in Whitehead to get rewarded for recycling items purchased at our shop. Not only does the help the environment it also benefits our community.”

Jackie Wright, Owner of SPAR, Edward Road Whitehead

“We are delighted to be trialing Reward4Waste in Whitehead with Bryson and Mid and East Antrim Council, with support from SPAR and Britvic. We have had a brilliant response to the trial and it has been wonderful to include real people in the marketing campaign ‘there’s a new app in town’. Together we aim to revolutionise recycling.”

Rachel Warren – Marketing Director

“Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful strives to create the awareness, understanding and means to inspire leaders, businesses and people of Northern Ireland to come together and take action to improve our local cities, towns and countryside, making them a healthier and more habitable place to live and flourish in. We are delighted to be one of the nominated charities of this exciting environmental project.”

Dr Ian Humphreys – Chief Executive, Keep Northern Ireland beautiful

“We are excited to be part of the Reward4Waste trial in Whitehead, where local residents can earn rewards by recycling. At Bryson Recycling we pride ourselves on finding innovative ways to encourage people to recycle the right way. Our kerbside model focusses on collecting high-quality materials, meaning they can be recycled locally, which is better for the environment, our local economy and creates jobs.

Over 85% of the materials we collect are recycled here in Northern Ireland. I hope you enjoy taking part in the trial – let’s revolutionise recycling.”

Eric Randall – Director – Bryson Recycling

“By donating the rewards you earn by recycling to Whitehead Primary School PTA you can help us with much needed funding for our school. If your child goes to our school please choose to donate to us.”

Whitehead Primary School PTA

“We really appreciate how well the residents of Mid and East Antrim are recycling already – and this new app will reward them for doing so. By ensuring the different materials are recycled across the borough, we can recycle even more, save money and help the environment.

These simple changes may not seem like a lot individually but if everyone made a small change and became more aware, we could collectively make a massive difference.”

Councillor Peter Johnston – Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

Trial Collaborators and Supporters

Do you want to improve your
Recycling behaviour?

We can help you achieve your DRS, EPR & sustainability targets. If you are a business and want to find out more, fill out the form to the right and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Thank you