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New to deposit return? Here's what retailers need to know

Retailers are at the heart of deposit return systems. But what are they, and how can retailers get the most out of them? TOMRA can help make deposit return work hard for you, by automating the return of bottles and cans and creating a great recycling experience for your customers.
HAppy retailers in front of fruit section

Retailers’ role in deposit return

Many deposit return systems around the world have a “return-to-retail” model – where retailers who sell beverages are also required to take back empty containers for recycling. Nearly all of the major high-performing deposit return systems in the world operate return-to-retail collection. As you are at the very heart of deposit return, you can make a huge difference to your customers, your communities, and the environment. And with the right bottle and can recycling solution, deposit return can also benefit your business.
Read more about TOMRA for Retailers
mom and kid using TOMRA T90 reverse vending machine

DRS opportunities for retailers

Recycling habits impact shopping habits and retailers can harness this through deposit return. Most customers shop where they recycle, so offering a great recycling experience can draw customers to your store and keep them coming back. Customers are also more eco-conscious than ever and expect to see retailers playing their part – they are more likely to engage with those who care about the same things they do. In addition, retailers in many deposit return system receive a handing fee for every container collected by their stores.
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The benefits of automating your containers collection

  • Teens recycling

    Time and cost saving

    Store staff will not have to check and process each container manually, saving you time and resources.

  • Retailer at store

    Space saving

    Reverse vending machines compact beverage containers on site, saving selling space in your store.

  • Employee with NotifyAssist on tablet


    Automation removes the potential for human error and ensures deposits and handling fees are correctly paid out.

  • Woman using TOMRA T9 reverse vending machine

    Customer experience

    RVMs offer customers a quick and easy recycling experience, encouraging them to return containers at your store.

How to use a reverse vending machine?

Using a reverse vending machine (RVM) is quick and easy. Check out how to use a TOMRA single or multi-feed:

How to use a single-feed RVM?

1.  Insert your containers
2. Tap the button
3. Take your receipt

When handed to retail staff, the receipts can be exchanged for cash or store credit. 

How to use a multi-feed RVM?

1.  Open the hatch (or tap start)
2. Insert your containers
3. Refill if needed
4. Tap "finish"
5. Take your receipt

As well as the single-feed machine, when handed to retail staff, receipts can be exchanged for cash or store credit. 

How to use a multi-feed reverse vending machine
Girls looking at bottles in store

Have more questions?

Our FAQ will guide you through deposit return.
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couple recycling bottles at TOMRA R1 reverse vending machine


TOMRA is the global leader in reverse vending technology, with around 80,000 reverse vending machines in more than 60 markets. Each year we help retailers and recycling venues to collect more than 45 billion containers.

With nearly 50 years of experience, we aim to lead the resource revolution – and our full-service solutions, with constant technology improvements and first-class customer service, will help you to get the most out of deposit return and play your part for years to come.
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Want more information from the TOMRA team?

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