Q: What types of materials can reverse vending machines collect?
A: PET bottles (number 1 plastic), aluminium cans and glass bottles.
Q: How large is a reverse vending machine?
A: It’s approximately the same size as a standard vending machine, 1.80m x 0.98m x 0.74m.
Q: What happens when the machine is full?
A: We can track the number of bottles deposited in real time on our online portal. We receive a message when the machine is near full capacity so we can arrange for a collection.
Q: What happens to the bottles?
A: In collaboration with research institutes, we use part of the bottles collected to test the difference in quality of waste between our system and the current household collection system. Scientific research is necessary to quantify the improvements that our system offers.
We bale and store the rest of the bottles to send to a bottle-to-bottle recycling facility across the border from Belgium, in cooperation with the relevant waste authorities.
Q: Why are single-use PET bottles not recycled back into bottles like in Germany?
A: The European Food Safety Authority has strict regulations around bottle-to-bottle recycling. They require the feed stock (collected bottles) to contain less than 5% non-food bottles (such as motor oil or soap). This ensures that the bottles being recycled are not heavily contaminated and are safe for food-grade application.
The current household collection system cannot provide the guarantees required by EFSA. So a majority of our PET bottles are recycled back into fibre and thermoformed trays (linear recycling).
Q: How many bottles can a machine store?
A: It depends on the machine – on average 600 bottles.
Q: What rewards do you offer to users?
A: We are building partnerships with companies to create a rewards platform. The success of the deposit system is heavily linked to the rewards offered to users. So far we have offered donations and monetary rewards. We are looking to add brand rewards, supermarket vouchers, free coffees, public transport tickets and a lot more. If you’re interested in becoming a partner and rewarding our users, you can email us at email@example.com.
Q: How does the machine accept or reject a bottle?
A: Our machines use the barcode as the first method of authentication. We also use image recognition, material sensors and weight sensors to ensure we only accept food-grade bottles.
Have a question that isn’t answered above? You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.