TOMRA Collection has launched what it says is the market’s smallest three-material reverse vending machine, TOMRA M1, which is aimed at providing a plug-and-play solution that enables smaller retailers to participate in deposit return schemes (DRS).

According to TOMRA, the stand-alone reverse vending machine requires just 0.62 square metres of floor space while measuring 98cm wide and 63cm deep and standing at 165cm tall.

TOMRA adds that the reverse vending machine can recognise glass, plastic, and aluminium beverage containers. The machine can reportedly store up to 270 PET bottles, 550 cans, and 80 uncrushed glass bottles.

In addition, the company explains that the TOMRA M1 also features 360-degree, instant container recognition technology with TOMRA’s Flow, which is aimed at quicker and more efficient returns. The machine is fully compatible with TOMRA’s portfolio of digital solutions to help stores manage reverse vending machines more efficiently and improve uptime, according to the company.

TOMRA says the three-material reverse vending machine – apparently the smallest on the market – allows smaller retailers to participate in DRS for multiple drink container materials and types, even with limited floor and shelf space. The machine is designed for convenience stores and small supermarkets, which TOMRA adds are increasingly being included in DRS.

TOMRA M1 is also a ‘plug-and-play’ solution, the company adds, which means it works with standard electricity and single-phased power. TOMRA says that the machine responds to retailers’ requests for a machine that fits with existing shelf configurations and dimensions.

DRS add a deposit to the price of a beverage, which is refunded to the consumer when they return the empty container for recycling – acting as an incentive to drive collection rates. A recent survey by Suntory Beverage & Food found that DRS can prompt consumers to rethink their relationship with plastic bottles and appreciate their value. However, research from Tetra Pak suggests that convenience and clarity are needed to fully engage consumers in DRS.

Lars Andersen, product manager for TOMRA M1, comments: “TOMRA M1 makes recycling possible in every store.

“A key challenge we heard from small retailers in new markets was a lack of space for a reverse vending machine. However, we believe that small retailers who sell a higher volume of drinks could see benefits to their store efficiency and customer experience from automating container returns, so the TOMRA M1 was born.

“This latest reverse vending machine makes it easier for small and convenience stores to offer container return points for all of their shoppers, and contribute to positive environmental outcomes and a healthier planet. We have been excited to collaborate with retailers to develop TOMRA M1 specifically for their needs.”