South Western Railway introduces world-leading ‘green’ vending machines

Wednesday 12th April 2023
Vending machine with 'living walls' attached to sides

If you’re using Bournemouth station you might notice a new, green addition on the platforms. South Western Railway (SWR) has introduced new, more energy-efficient vending machines with ‘living walls’, as part of a world-leading, innovative new trial.

SWR has partnered with Christchurch-based Decorum Vending, who have worked with Regency Design and phs Greenleaf to design the world’s first living walls that can be attached to the sides of vending machines.

The living walls - which are small, self-sufficient, vertical gardens - have been developed to thrive in all locations, whether sunlight, shady or covered, and if the trial at Bournemouth is successful, they will be making an appearance on machines at other locations on the SWR network.

The living walls are attached to an advanced vending machine which uses 54% less electricity than previous versions and has a smaller environmental impact through the use of upgraded refrigerants.

Annually, each wall consumes nearly 5kg of carbon and produces 2.4kg of oxygen while combatting air pollution and increasing biodiversity. The walls’ structures are made from recycled coffee grounds and all removed plants are recycled back into biomass.

Living walls have been proven to effectively reduce harmful nitrogen oxides while providing a boost to biodiversity, by providing accessible habitats for insects and other wildlife.

The new vending machines join other innovations in Bournemouth including station benches made from recycled plastic bottles and a plastic-free dispenser for both still and sparkling water.

SWR’s Head of Sustainability, Amy Dickinson, said:

“At SWR, our mission is more than simply getting people from A to B. We’re passionate about making the railway more sustainable and embracing innovation on both the large and small scale to make a difference. These new energy-efficient vending machines not only reduce our energy consumption, but also improve air quality and provide a home for all sorts of wildlife. All steps we are proud to make in our journey to a better future”.

Declan Sewell, Managing Director of Decorum Vending said:

“I am delighted to have installed the first of our new machines with living walls at Bournemouth station.  We are confident that customers will be attracted not only by our larger product range and customer friendly machines but also by our strides towards sustainability.   Our new machines and living walls are part of our commitment to improve energy efficiency and environmental impact.   We have recently started an exercise of replacing all of our other vending machines on the South Western Railway estate with the latest technology.  Combined with South Western Railway’s work to reduce carbon and increase recycling, Bournemouth station is a perfect location to launch the first of these machines fitted with the living walls.”