New TOMRA R1 Makes In-Store Recycling Easier for Consumers : Reverse Vending Machine from TOMRA Takes 100 Bottles for Recycling at Once

tomra r1 reverse vending recycling pet bottle
© Tomra

Reverse vending machine manufacturer, TOMRA, has launched its R1 machine which is able to handle up to 100 empty beverage containers being poured into it in a single go, as opposed to inserting each container one by one.

"With alarming growth worldwide in plastic pollution and greater awareness of the problem, we wanted to make the recycling experience as convenient and enjoyable as possible," explained Harald Henriksen, Head of TOMRA Collection Solutions. "If more people are motivated to return their drink containers for recycling, more can be turned into new bottles again and again in a closed loop, reducing reliance on raw materials for producing new containers. The multi-feed concept transforms the recycling experience."

When returning over 100 beverage containers, recycling at TOMRA R1 is said to be up to five times faster than at a single-feed machine, as containers do not need to be put in one at a time. By making recycling faster and more convenient, the new solution reduces queuing and wait times.

TOMRA added that the R1 is also intuitive to use and provides a mess-free recycling experience with no need to handle each container.

The R1 is now available in Norway and Sweden, and rolling out to redemption centres in the US. Germany and other regions will follow in the months ahead.

How it works :

Open the hatch and pour your empty cans and plastic bottles into the machine.

Close the lid to begin the counting and sorting process.

Collect your deposit refund voucher.

"The machine is totally fantastic! Customers love it, and we definitely have customers coming to the store because of it," commented Fredrik Hallenstvedt, Store Manager at Meny Borreveien in Norway, one of the testing locations for TOMRA R1. "Since installing the machine we have experienced over 200% growth in the volume of containers compared to the year before."

The R1 has been in research and development since 2015, with several prototypes tested in stores, which are often the location for recycling return points.

The technology stands on the shoulders of TOMRA's industrial-grade equipment for counting and sorting containers, using a "singulator" to line the containers up in single file for recognition. However, the new machine required a different technical approach in order to be used by a consumer rather than a trained operator, and for fitting compactly into a retail setting.

The R1 also needed to handle a more rapid pace of returns than possible with previous reverse vending machines, so is equipped with air sorters rather than mechanical sorting. The new solution is equipped with the world-first instant container recognition system TOMRA Flow Technology, and connects to TOMRA's Internet of Things platform.

Recycler response

According to TOMRA, as seen in field tests with retailers and recyclers in Norway and Sweden since 2016, consumer response has been good. Test stores showed an up to 60% increase in the number of consumer recycling sessions compared to the year before, and up to 218% more containers returned. A demonstration video uploaded to social media by one of the test stores has now been viewed over 425,000 times.

"The multi-feed approach has truly wowed recyclers," added Harald Henriksen from TOMRA Collection Solutions. "During our tests, people drove past other stores in order to use TOMRA R1, arrived with trailers full of containers, and even turned up with only a small number of containers, just because they preferred to use TOMRA R1."

As well as being handy for recyclers with an overflowing pile of containers at home, TOMRA R1 is well suited for workplaces returning large volumes of bottles and cans, and for charities and community groups collecting deposit containers for fundraising.

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