Norway-based Tomra has introduced its R1 reverse vending machine (RVM), which the company says lets recyclers in regions with container deposit systems pour more than 100 empty beverage containers—both metal and plastic—into the machine at one time, rather than inserting them one by one.
“We wanted to make the recycling experience as convenient and enjoyable as possible,” says 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 multifeed concept transforms the recycling experience.”
When returning more than 100 beverage containers, using the R1 is up to five times faster than a single-feed machine, according to Tomra. The machine has the ability to reduce time spent waiting in lines, and provides “a mess-free recycling experience where you don’t need to handle each container,” says the company.
The R1 is currently available in Norway and Sweden, and will be introduced in the United States, Germany and other regions later in 2020.
For users, the R1 offers a three-step process, says Tomra: 1) open the hatch and pour empty cans and plastic bottles into the machine; 2) close the hatch’s lid to start the automated counting and sorting process; 3) after sorting and counting is completed, collect one’s deposit refund voucher.
“The machine is totally fantastic; customers love it, and we definitely have customers coming to the store because of it,” remarks Fredrik Hallenstvedt, a store manager with MENY Borre in Norway. The grocery retailer has served as one of the testing locations for the R1. “Since installing the machine, we have experienced over 200 percent growth in the volume of containers compared to the year before,” adds Hallenstvedt.
Tomra says the R1 has been in development since 2015. The new machine uses a “singulator” to line up the containers in single file for recognition, and is equipped with what Tomra calls its “world-first instant container recognition system: Tomra Flow Technology.”
“The multifeed approach has truly wowed [household] recyclers,” says Henriksen “During our tests, people drove past other stores in order to use the Tomra R1. They arrived with trailers full of containers [or] turned up with only a small number of containers, just because they preferred to use the Tomra R1.”
Video clips of the R1 in use can be found on this web page.