7. Recycling in any conditions: “Different markets have different container return models and infrastructure based on local requirements. Reverse vending technology must be ready and rapid in adapting to those local market needs,” explains Gudbrand. For example, while many regions have indoor reverse vending in stores or depots, others offer outdoor return points. TOMRA S1 Rugged was unveiled in 2020, designed for semi-sheltered locations and able to withstand challenging weather conditions. The robust RVM was tested to comply with product standards for water resistance, and features a hardier exterior and brighter touchscreen display for reading in direct sunlight. Also previewing in 2020 was the new, small-footprint TOMRA M1, specifically designed for smaller stores with shallow shelf space. The solution is compact and affordable, though still has capacity to handle three different types of container materials.
8. New containers and applications: As well as adapting to different return locations, reverse vending is also responding to demand for different items to be returned. Today’s RVMs can already handle a wide variety of drink container types, in terms of material (glass, plastic bottles, steel/aluminum cans, and liquid paperboard) and use (refillable and non-refillable containers), and even being able to scan entire crates of empties. TOMRA has taken beverage container handling a step further through a new pilot with SodaStream, the world’s leading sparkling water-maker brand, for the return of used CO2 cylinders. SodaStream-branded RVMs are now being installed in retailers in the European Union and United States, to make cylinder exchange more efficient for retailers and consumers. SodaStream CO2 cylinders are produced to remain in a closed loop, and returned to SodaStream plants where they are cleaned, refilled and sealed for reuse – bringing TOMRA technology to new applications and contributing further to circular economies for beverages.