Reverse vending machine

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Reverse vending machine in an Aldi supermarket

A reverse vending machine is a device that accepts used (empty) beverage containers and returns money to the user. The machines are popular in places that have mandatory recycling laws or container deposit legislation. In some places, bottlers paid funds into a centralized pool to be disbursed to people who recycled the containers. Any excess funds were to be used for general environmental cleanup.[1] In other places, such as Norway, the state mandated that a vendor pay for recycled bottles, but left the system in the hands of private industry.

The main vendors of reverse vending machines are Tomra of Norway and Wincor Nixdorf of Germany, and Envipco of USA, Envirobank of Australia and Reverse Vending Corporation.


The recycler places the empty bottle/can into the receiving aperture; the horizontal in-feed system allows the user to insert containers one at a time. (An alternative system, found in many older machines, is one in which the user opens a door by hand and places the empty container in a pan. When the door is released and closed, the process continues.) The bottle/can is then automatically rotated; the bottle/can is then scanned by an Omnidirectional UPC Scanner, which scans the beverage container's UPC.

Once a container is scanned, identified (matched to database) and determined to be a participating container, it is processed and typically crushed (for one-time-use Containers) to reduce its size, to avoid spillages of liquid and to increase storage capacity. Re-fillable containers are collected and sorted by hand to be brought back to the bottling company. The machines can use material recognition instead of/as well as a bar code scanner when needed.[2]


The first patent for a “Bottle Return and Handling Machine” was filed in America in 1920. source

The first working Bottle Return Machine was invented and manufactured by Wicanders from Sweden used in the late 1950s.

In 1962 an advanced Automatic Bottle Return Machine was designed by Aage Tveitan and manufactured in Norway by his company Arthur Tveitan ASA.


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