Recent reports have shown – in no uncertain terms – the devastation that could occur if we don’t address climate change right now. While there seem to be plenty of solutions out there, one of them is the Reverse Vending Machine (RVM). Despite the fact that this machine dates from earlier decades, its advancements have allowed it to take center stage. As a result, many organizations are working hard to improve it and come up with new ideas.

Using a reverse vending machine to recycle bottled containers has become more cost-effective and convenient. This kind of machine is easy to use, has a convenient location, is efficient, and recycles well. Due to its simple process and positive goal of improving the environment, the reverse vending machine is gaining popularity around the world. This machine, in a nutshell, collects empty and used bottles or cans. In exchange, recyclers are paid money or offered other incentives based on the number of containers they recycle. But it didn’t start out that way. There is a history to be learned about these machines.

Wicanders, a Swedish company, invented this device in the late 1950s. Although it was functional, it was simple and one-dimensional, only accepting only plastic bottles one at a time. The machine didn’t accept other recycled materials, such as aluminum or glass and large quantities of bottles. Engineer Aage Tveitan created an advanced reverse vending machine in 1962 to improve this device. The device could then accept bottles made of various recyclable materials and multiple bottles at the same time. This upgrade set the stage for how our machines work today.

The modern reverse vending machine is designed to help reduce and recycle the over 1.4 trillion beverage containers used annually by consumers around the world. The majority of unrecycled beverage bottles end up in landfills, oceans, and rivers. To combat this waste, the RVM provides recycling incentives. Depending on where the machine is located, these incentives may include cash refunds, charitable donations, metro transit tickets, prepaid telephone cards, or discounted amusement park tickets. Thanks to these incentives, users are likely to be more motivated to recycle, benefiting both the environment and themselves. 

Although recycling bins, recycling centers, and RVMs all have the same goal of recycling, each appliance works differently. RVMs only accept beverage containers, whereas bins and recycling centers accept any recyclable materials. The waste in RVMs is separated mechanically for the most part, whereas the waste deposited in bins and recycling centers is separated manually. With manual separation, the chances of materials being improperly separated or trash being thrown in with the materials are high. RVMs only process clean and empty bottles/cans. Manual separation has one advantage: it is faster to throw materials away than it is to wait and process them into RVMs. When you deposit waste at an RVM or a recycling center, you are rewarded. Deposits into bins, on the other hand, are not rewarded. Finally, while both RVMs and recycling bins are found in convenient locations (supermarkets, schools, etc), recycling centers are scarce in cities/towns due to their large footprint. Even though these three appliances work in different ways, the materials they collect end up in the same recycling companies, so it’s worth looking into the advantages of each.

The RVM process is quite simple. The reverse vending machine follows a series of steps. The recycler begins by depositing empty beverage containers in the receiving hole. The bottle or can is then rotated to allow the Universal Product Code (UPC) scanner to scan the UPC code on the bottle. Each unique trade item is given a numeric code that identifies where it was made. Following the scanning and identification of the container, it is entered into the database to keep track of how many bottles the recycler is returning. The beverage containers are then crushed to a smaller size so that the reverse vending machine has more storage capacity. After that, the recycler can choose which reward they want. Finally, once the storage capacity has been reached, the beverage containers are collected and sorted by hand to deliver them to the appropriate recycling material company. 

The use of reverse vending machines has a number of advantages. One of the advantages is that they benefit the environment by recycling materials and reducing the need for raw materials to manufacture new beverage containers. RVMs are also conveniently located in public places like grocery stores, gas stations, schools, and parks, making them easily accessible to users. They are simple to manage because the machine separates the recyclable materials (plastic, glass, and aluminum), saving people the work of having to do so manually. RVMs can also hold 200 plastic beverage containers and 900 cans, indicating that they can hold a large amount of material before needing to be emptied. They are not large machines, so they do not take up much space, despite holding a lot of recyclable materials. RVMs can also be beneficial to businesses. Customers who enjoy recycling through the RVM will return to recycle and shop more frequently if stores with RVMs offer store-specific incentives (such as coupons). Finally, because RVMs are incentivized devices, they benefit not only the environment but also the recycler.

However, the main disadvantage of these machines is their economic limitations, with their initial purchase or leasing costs being relatively high. A single machine can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000. Businesses find it challenging to purchase a large number of RVMs due to the high cost. An RVM can be compared to the automated teller machine, a similarly priced device that can also be found in convenient locations (ATMs). ATMs range in price from $1,000 to $25,000 or more, and they are profitable in the long run, even though they can be purchased or leased for slightly less. If ATMs charge $2.50 or $3 per use, they can earn between $4,320 and $7,200 per year on average. The ATM machine begins to earn profits from the initial purchase or lease agreement between one and four years after the initial purchase or lease agreement. RVMs have the same potential for profit as ATMs. If an RVM can collect 1,000 cans per week at a rate of 10 cents per can, it can earn $100 per week or $5,200 per year. These machines would break even on their initial investment in two to five years. RVMs are not only environmentally friendly, but they are also cost-effective.

As a result of increased innovation and resource recycling projects, the global market for reverse vending machines is expanding significantly. North America, South America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa have started using reverse vending machines widely. The global market for reverse vending machines reached $386.9 million in 2020 and is expected to grow to $779.3 million by twenty twenty six, representing a compound annual growth rate of 10.4 percent. According to Stable, a market research platform, RVMs are dominating the North American market due to stable demand for RVMs from the government, retailer, and beverage industries. They’re expected to grow significantly in the Asian Pacific market as the food industry grows.

With the global expansion of RVMs, new applications for this invention may emerge. For example, the RVM could be modified to collect new materials such as compost and textiles, or new incentives could be added. With these adaptations, RVMs can recycle and reduce material beyond water bottles, encouraging users to recycle more. Although the RVM may not significantly revolutionize the recycling process, using it is a step in the right direction for reducing human impact on the environment. With the expansion of RVMs into more countries, convenience stores, and public spaces, hopefully more recyclable materials will be recycled and reused indefinitely.

Determined to create a game-changing, high-tech solution for collecting empty beverage containers, Aco Recycling has created their own G-1 Smart Reverse Vending Machine. Given that it has high accuracy, ability to work with deposit or non-deposit, advanced monitoring system, various reward models, full tracking ability, AI recognition and remote access, this machine stands out among all the others. Moreover, the G-1 Smart Reverse Vending Machine can be changed in the field. In order to create innovative waste management and environmental solutions, Aco Recycling began its journey in the Smart Waste Management industry with a few different product lines, including Smart Reverse Vending Machines, Smart Waste Management Solutions, Underground Waste Containers, and Environmental Gadgets. It has since become a complete manufacturer and specialist for RVMs & Advance Waste Monitoring Systems. Their solutions have been built in-house to provide high-quality product and service experiences to both partners and clients. 

For more information about the Aco Recycling Smart Reverse Vending Machines as well as other products, click here


  • Mike Souheil

    Author / Writer

    I am a professional blogger/writer and have been writing as a freelance writer for various websites. Now I have joined one of the most recognized platforms in the world.