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  • Writer's pictureMrEduneer

Solving The Global Challenges: Reverse Vending Machine

A reverse vending machine, also known as an RVM, is a machine that takes in your used or empty beverage containers (like bottles and cans) and rewards you in return.

"In 2018, about 80 million metric tons of plastic waste were not managed to international standards, including via open dumping, open burning, and substandard landfills. Five million to ten million metric tons of waste also ended up in the ocean, according to McKinsey research (Exhibit 1).": Addressing the challenges of plastic waste: Circularity and leakage: McKinsey & Company

"On this point, our research shows that achieving 20 to 30 per cent of recycled content for plastic packaging by 2030 globally could require as much as $100 billion cumulatively, spanning collection, sortation, and both mechanical and advanced recycling technologies.": A unique moment in time: Scaling plastics circularity: McKinsey & Company


As the CTO of a start-up led by a second generation of entrepreneurs, I set up the backbone by building the team and product from ground zero. The product development included developing the machine(s) outer structure, setting up the sensors, actuators and screens, machine intelligence, and various IoT functionalities. The machines were developed and sold on our brand name and as OEM to various brands looking to invest in RVM's using their CSR funds.

Fundamentals of Reverse Vending Machine: What are RVM's?



WHY THIS?The 3 major categories of machines included:

  1. RVM 101: The Semi-Manual Machine

  2. RVM 102: The Detection Machine

  3. RVM 103: The Smart and Intelligent Machine

RVM 101: The Semi-Manual Machine

The RVM 101 operates by accepting empty beverage containers, typically made of plastic, glass, or aluminium, and providing a monetary incentive or voucher in return. The semi-manual Machine requires some level of user interaction. Users must manually insert their empty containers into the machine, which then sorts and compacts them for recycling. Once the containers are processed, users receive their incentives, often in the form of store credit, cash refunds, or donation options.

The Semi-Manual Machine offers several advantages over traditional recycling methods. It encourages recycling by providing immediate rewards, promotes cleanliness by reducing litter, and contributes to environmental sustainability by facilitating the recycling process.

RVM 102: The Detection Machine

The RVM 102 it's a specialised type of Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) designed for the automated sorting and processing of recyclable materials, particularly beverage containers.

One of the key features of RVM 102 is its use of advanced sensors, including those for detecting Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), and other recyclable materials commonly used in beverage packaging. These sensors are programmed to accurately identify the composition of incoming materials based on their physical properties, such as density, shape, and material composition.

Upon depositing empty beverage containers into the machine, the Detection Machine employs its sensor array to analyze and sort the items accordingly. For example, PET bottles are distinguished from HDPE bottles and other materials, ensuring precise sorting for efficient recycling processes.

RVM 103: The Smart and Intelligent Machine

The RVM 103 represents a cutting-edge advancement in Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) technology. Unlike traditional RVMs, RVM 103 is equipped with a sophisticated array of sensors, including those specifically designed to detect Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), and other materials commonly used in beverage packaging. Additionally, it incorporates computer vision capabilities to further enhance its functionality.

These sensors analyze the physical properties of the materials, such as density, shape, and material composition, ensuring precise sorting for efficient recycling processes. Moreover, the integration of computer vision technology provides RVM 103 with the ability to visually analyze and identify objects in real time.

This advanced capability enables the machine to recognise not only the type of material but also other attributes such as labels, barcodes, and product branding. RVM 103 enhances its sorting accuracy and operational efficiency, leading to improved recycling outcomes.

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