Mar 29, 2021 / 16:48

Reverse vending machine: Typical green growth model for Vietnam

Norwegian experts see great potential in identifying and facilitating circular solutions in Vietnam that is moving towards sustainable development.

Reverse vending machine (RVM), which is a typical for automated collection of used beverage containers, has appeared to be optimal for Vietnam amid the country’s transition to greener growth.

 All of the elements, when applied together, will address global waste challenges and advance a circular economy. Photo: TOMRA

The technology-led solution that matches the circular economy becomes a good model from Norway amid efforts by the Nordic countries to share their gained knowledge and experience to their long-standing friend – Vietnam.

TOMRA-owned design, manufacturing, and sale of RVMs provide advanced collection and sorting systems that optimize resource recovery and minimize waste in the food, recycling, and mining industries.

“We believe TOMRA’s contributions of advanced fit-for-purpose sensor-based technology, and over 45 years of experience of working with private, public and civil sector stakeholders around the world to promote best practice recycling framework and solutions, can help the entire value chain optimize resource productivity,” said Annupa Ahi, vice president, Business Development TOMRA Collection Solutions Asia/Pacific.

Annupa Ahi told Hanoitimes of their innovation that has lasted for 45 years.

She said, with an installed base of approximately 80,000 machines in over 60 markets, TOMRA Reverse Vending is the world’s leading provider of reverse vending solutions. Every year TOMRA facilitates the collection of more than 40 billion empty cans and bottles and provides retailers and other customers with an effective and efficient way of collecting, sorting, and processing these containers.

TOMRA Recycling is a global leader in its field and has pioneered the automation of waste sorting. Its flexible sorting systems perform an extensive range of sorting tasks and are able to both prepare and classify various types of metals and waste for either material recycling or energy recovery. Currently TOMRA Recycling has an installed base of close to 6,460 units across more than 40 markets.

Notably, TOMRA’s vision is Leading the Resource Revolution, helping to manage our planet's precious resources, today and tomorrow.

 Rewarding recycling in Norway. Photo: TOMRA

Regarding incredible recycling scheme, almost 90% of all cans and bottles were returned in Norway in 2019.

Annupa Ahi highlighted the Norwegian deposit return scheme (DRS) system, operated by industry and retail owned PRS Infinitum, is a world class scheme, used as blueprint in many jurisdictions.

The Norwegian DRS covers single-used plastic bottles and cans, providing high recovery and recycling rates at lowest costs for the beverage industry that industry gets paid for using aluminum cans. The deposit return scheme has a significant impact on the environment.

In Norway, Infinitum owns and manages the Norwegian DRS. All producers and importers of beverages, in either cans or non-refillable bottles (PET), can register their products in the deposit system. They pay the deposit to Infinitum to label the bottles and cans with the deposit symbol.

Consumers return their empty cans and bottles to a retailer, like a store, kiosk or petrol station. Due to the convenience and efficiency, majority of the containers are returned through a RVM that provides an automated method for collection, sorting, handling the used beverage containers for recycling or reuse. When consumers return their empties, they get back the deposit they paid upon purchase, motivating repeated return and further raising collection rates. In turn, the retailers get the deposit refunded from Infinitum.

The empty bottles and cans return to Infinitum’s production facilities or to regional partners. The production facility record, process and prepare the empties for recycling.

As the global reverse vending leader, TOMRA provide a wide range of machines and systems suitable for different type of customers and applications – from the smallest convenience store to the largest bottle depot, as well as grocery retailers of any size. With our IOT platform, data from the RVMs turns into actionable intelligence that helps our customers work efficiently and keeps consumers coming back.

Commenting Vietnam’s plastic recycling and the best model for the country, Annupa Ahi said TOMRA’s evaluation of the world’s highest-performing deposit return systems found that these systems share the four common principles of performance, convenience, producer responsibility and system integrity. These are applicable both in the design of new deposit programs and modernizing existing ones. However, as with all policies, it is recognized that local culture, infrastructure and politics need to be factored in to shape the system that works best for each market.

TOMRA is committed to supporting and sharing knowledge in identifying the right framework conditions, in order to meet the recycling and other environmental objectives for Vietnam.

“We see great potential to identify and facilitate circular solutions, by putting in place effective collection systems that can feed high quality feedstock to the recycling capacity that is being built up in the country and ensure attractive and stable offtake for the valuable material from the brand owners,” she added.