The world’s most efficient deposit-based return systems

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Arabic, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Norwegian, Chinese
Zara Lauder

TOMRA is the world leader in reverse vending solutions. It provides an automated method for collecting, sorting and handling used beverage containers for recycling or reuse. TOMRA has approximately 80 000 reverse vending machines in more than 60 markets. These machines enable deposit return systems which can achieve return rates of almost 100% and maintain the food-grade status of used beverage containers. This means they can be reused through closed-loop recycling. No other waste or collection system currently matches this performance.

With more countries considering implementing a deposit return system for single-use beverage containers, the challenge facing policymakers is to develop legislation and design systems that will be very efficient in the long term. Based on their 40+ years of experience, TOMRA conducted a global review to identify what makes a high-performing system. The lessons learnt will help address today’s challenges of meeting new waste recovery targets, ending littering and moving towards a circular economy.

Read more in the white paper titled Reward Recycling: Learnings from the world’s highest-performing deposit return systems


Main results
  • Every year, TOMRA facilitates the collection of more than 40 billion empty cans and bottles and provides retailers and consumers with an effective and efficient way of collecting, sorting and processing these containers. This helps avoid around 4 million tons of CO2 emissions.
  • Lithuania has one of the most successful deposit systems supported by TOMRA technology and know-how, exceeding expectations with 91,9% beverage container return rate by the 2nd year of introduction.
  • With 40+ years of experience, TOMRA is present in every major container deposit market in the world, giving them insight into deposit return system design. TOMRA’s new white paper shares these learnings and reveals the success factors and best practices for high-performing deposit return systems.