TOMRA marks 50th anniversary, highlights urgent need to accelerate circular economy

New mission seeks to address the way the world manages waste

Returning bottles in R! TOMRA machine
TOMRA, the global provider of advanced collection and sorting systems, today announced a bold new mission to “transform how we all obtain, use and reuse the planet’s resources to enable a world without waste.” The mission honors the organization’s 50th anniversary tomorrow, while looking to the future of resource optimization. 

“We live in a world that needs big transformation. We urgently need to accelerate the circular economy and make more efficient use of resources – opportunities that TOMRA’s solutions can help address. TOMRA has a fifty-year heritage of innovation and impact, with the proven solutions our customers – and the planet – really need. These past fifty years have prepared us to rise to the most pressing challenge of our time: reinventing the way the world manages waste. We strive to lead the resource revolution, and our team of resource revolutionaries around the world are up to the challenge.” 

Tove Andersen President and CEO of TOMRA
50th anniversary graphic

A world that needs sustainable solutions 

Today, TOMRA has more than 100,000 installations in over 80 markets, with over 4600 employees across the company worldwide. TOMRA Collection, which develops reverse vending machines to enable beverage container recycling, captures over 40 billion drink containers each year. Its reverse vending machines enable 4.5 million tons in avoided carbon emissions. 

To fight plastic waste, TOMRA has an ambition to enable 40% of plastic packaging produced globally to be collected for recycling by 2030. Currently, only 14% of all the world’s plastic packaging is captured for recycling, with just 2% recycled in a ‘closed loop’ (recycled for the same purpose without being downgraded to lower quality plastic). 

The company has also set the goal to collect 500 billion containers annually for Clean Loop Recycling, the company’s version of closed-loop recycling, so they can become new bottles and cans, again and again. This reduces reliance on raw materials in the production of new containers, and ensures fewer containers end up in our streets, oceans and landfills.

TOMRA today is more relevant than ever. Our work to enable a world without waste is at the heart of enormous challenges in sustainability impacting the entire globe – such as the need to combat climate change, plastic pollution and food waste, and drive a circular economy. TOMRA Collection provides the technology to enable these results, but the true impact of this recycling comes from the efforts of retailers, recycling centers and consumers around the world. We thank them all for making this milestone anniversary possible, and we look forward to working together on these ambitious goals.

Harald Henriksen Head of TOMRA Collection

Garage start-up to industry leader in sustainability solutions 

TOMRA was founded in Norway on April 1, 1972 by brothers Petter and Tore Planke. After seeing a local grocer struggle with the manual collection of empty bottles in their store, the brothers developed the first fully-automated reverse vending machine in their family’s garage. This invention was quickly embraced by retailers and spawned an entire industry for efficiently handling the return and recycling of deposit beverage containers, also setting TOMRA as an early pioneer in the green-tech wave. 

Tore and Petter Planke, TOMRA founders
Retailer struggling to clean away returned empty bottles
Tore & Petter Planke

TOMRA has continued to innovate in the reverse vending space. The most recent development saw the launch of TOMRA R1, a “multi-feed” solution enables recyclers to pour over 100 containers into the machine at once, rather than inserting them one by one. TOMRA has also integrated the Internet of Things and big data to enable container recycling to go digital, with options for paperless refund vouchers, analytics for stores on return patterns, a retailer app with notifications about machine status, and a consumer app with functionalities for maps, donation and gamification of container returns. 

From its early focus on designing and manufacturing reverse vending machines, TOMRA has also expanded its work in resource sustainability into providing advanced sorting systems for the the food, recycling, and mining industries. These technology-led solutions optimize resource recovery and minimize waste, in ever-greater demand as sustainability grows more vital with businesses, governments and consumers. 

CEO Tove Andersen concluded: “Transformation is at the heart of everything TOMRA does. TOMRA transforms ideas and technology to create intelligent and pioneering tools. We transform companies into more profitable, sustainable businesses and transform how the world’s resources are obtained, used, and reused, which also helps transform people’s everyday lives.” 

About TOMRA Collection:

Founded in 1972, TOMRA provides reverse vending solutions for Clean Loop Recycling, collecting aluminium, plastic and glass beverage containers to be continually reused and recycled back into new bottles and cans. With approximately 80,000 reverse vending machines across more than 60 markets, TOMRA captures over 40 billion used beverage containers every year toward a closed loop. This reduces reliance on raw materials, and ensures fewer containers end up in our streets, oceans and landfills. TOMRA’s reverse vending machines, digital solutions and service make recycling easy for the industry, system owners, retailers and consumers to contribute to a more sustainable planet. Visit our Reverse Vending pages on, and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

TOMRA Collection is part of the TOMRA Group, which creates sensor-based solutions for optimal resource productivity, and has a vision to lead the Resource Revolution. The Group employs approximately 4300 people globally and is publicly listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSE: TOM).