Mobile bottle bank turns heads in town centre

Joseph Bulmer

Curious pupils meet Barnstaple’s green ‘hog’

CURIOUS pupils at a Barnstaple primary school have been finding out about a special plug-in vehicle that’s been turning heads in the town.

Youngsters at Newport Community School were among the many local people to have spotted the unusual looking electric “hedgehog” that has been quietly doing the rounds.

The green “hog” is in fact a carbon-neutral mobile bottle bank, hired by Tesco as part of a two-week campaign to advertise the opening of its new Barnstaple Extra store.

One of a fleet of 10 similar vehicles normally found on the streets of London, it has escaped to the country for the first time to promote the store at the same time as encouraging people to recycle.

Driver Roger Stanley, from Barnstaple, told Newport pupils that the French-made vehicle travelled around 30 miles on a four-hour charge, costing around 60 pence-a-time.

“It’s quite fun to drive and the maximum speed is around 32mph in the right conditions,” he said.

“The vehicle runs on electricity; there are 12 batteries under the seat and there is no need for oil or diesel.

“It’s certainly created quite a bit of interest as I’ve been driving around Barnstaple – quite a few motorists have given me a toot.”

The mobile bottle bank is one of a number of “green” advertising campaigns developed by sustainable marketing company Seymour Green Media.

Director Richard Symonds said the firm offered the world’s first carbon neutral recycling initiative.

“It allows brands to interact with consumers on an ethical level, helping people to practise recycling whilst enjoying our fun approach,” he said.

“Quite simply, posters talk the talk, but our green and electric hedgehogs are proud to walk the walk when it comes to reducing the carbon footprint.”

And if you’re wondering how the vehicle got back to London on Sunday, Richard explained: “The bottle bank went back to London on a transporter and we offset the carbon emissions using carbon credits.”