Finnish manufacturer Tomra makes “reverse vending machines” to accept can and bottle deposits for recycling. These types of machines typically accept one vessel at a time, with an internal scanner classifying each one as it comes down the chute. Even in eco-conscious Scandinavia, not everyone is willing to spend those minutes feeding the machine.
The old way
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In a bid to increase recycling, Tomra designed their new R1 model to be “multi-feed.” The R1 has an opening the size of a clothes dryer, so recyclers can just dump their entire bags inside. The R1’s internal system quickly scans up to 100 bottles at once, and spits out the redemption receipt in seconds rather than minutes.
The machine is designed to accept only plastic bottles and metal cans; but if the user happens to dump a glass bottle in there, it will count and reject it. A flatscreen on the machine shows you the count.
Here’s an example of the sorting time:
Since installing several R1s, Swedish supermarket MaxiMat Töcksfors, whose customers previously recycled 7,000-8,000 cans and bottles a day, saw the daily number increase to 13,000.
“Tailored to larger supermarkets and return locations receiving high volumes of drink containers, TOMRA R1 offers a more user-friendly and convenient recycling experience. This can attract store visitors and a greater volume of containers returned, leading to increased loyalty among recyclers and revenues for retailers. TOMRA R1 provides mess-free recycling, as there is no need to handle each bottle – so consumers can do their part for the environment without getting their hands sticky.”