Our planet is facing a waste crisis. The oceans are choked with 150 million tonnes of plastic, and fewerthan half of all plastic bottles purchased are collected for recycling. Our industrial model is not sustainableand unprecedented action is required. We need a paradigm shift.
Through clever applications TOMRA and other ambitious companies are leading the transformation to a circular economy. A clear area of opportunity is in plastics. This is the workhorse material of today’s economy, with its use increasing 20 fold in the past 50 years and expected to double in the next two decades. Innovative sensor-based technology enables the collection of plastic and other beverage containers to take place conveniently as part of consumers’ daily life. TOMRA developed the first reverse vending machine (RVM) in 1972, and today the use of RVMs at supermarkets allows people to deposit their empty beverage containers for a small refund which drives huge increases in recycling rates, up to 98 percent. TOMRA itself captures 35 billion used beverage containers every year, representing 2.5 percent of the total sold in 2017. However there is much more to be done. By collecting more plastic packaging materials, it is estimated we can feed around $100 billion of value back into the economy.
TOMRA is also a pioneering provider of sensor-based sorting solutions in the waste and metal recycling industries, recovering many types of valuable materials from the waste stream and sorting them efficiently. This is literally turning waste into value.