Recyclomats – what are they, how do they work, and how are they related to ESG?

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Recyclomats – what are they, how do they work, and how are they related to ESG?

The increasing availability of recycling machines translates into more accessible access to recycling points and encourages society to participate actively in the recycling process. Recyclomats in Poland are becoming increasingly popular, and companies, both large and small and not necessarily directly related to ecology, are speeding up this process. What are recyclomats? What is their relationship with ESG and what is their future in Poland?

What is a recycler, and how does it work?

Recyclomats are devices designed to collect, sort and handle the return of used beverage packaging. There is no single model of recycling machine – nowadays, on Polish streets and in stores, you will find both smaller, single-station recycling machines and larger, multi-station ones, resembling the well-known parcel lockers. A wide range of recycling machines on the market today can meet the needs of different types of stores, from small convenience stores to large supermarkets. And although recycling machines in Poland are still in their infancy, it is worth following their development closely – and maybe even contributing to it.

It is worth noting that recycling machines can contribute to an increase in the amount of returned packaging, which was documented in the example of the K-Citymarket Vantaa Tammisto store in Finland, where a significant increase in the amount of returned packaging after the introduction of the recycling machine was recorded.

How does a recycling machine work?

  • Recyclomats are automated devices, which means that they do not require human handling during the process of receiving packaging. Thus, they can operate even 24/7.
  • Their mechanism is simple: the user inserts the product they want to recycle into the hole. The machine analyses its type (e.g., by barcode) and accepts it. The waste is collected and sent for recycling when the recycling machine is complete.
  • Significantly, returning bottles to a recycling machine is often associated with receiving a refundable deposit or a shopping voucher from the store where the machine operates.
  • It is becoming increasingly common for a vending machine to operate using mobile applications for bottles or cans.
  • Recyclomats can quickly and effectively recognise and scan barcodes on packaging, often without rotating them (although this depends on the model).
  • The technological development of recycling machines makes the entire process faster and more effective; there are no queues at the machines, and the risk of spilling the remaining liquid from the bottle or can is reduced.

Fun fact: The first fully automated recycling machine was developed by Tomra in 1972.

What can be thrown into the recycling machine?

Recyclomats can accept different types of packaging, from cartons and bottles to metal cans. Most often, they have a capacity that allows you to throw bottles or cans with a maximum capacity of up to 2 litres into them.

Fun fact: In 2019, the first recycling machine in Poland was installed in Wieluń, and in 2020, recycling machines appeared in Warsaw. They could be used to throw plastic PET bottles, glass bottles, and aluminium cans.

Recyclomat and ESG

It is worth adding that the recycling machines set by companies implement the goals of the sustainable development policy, primarily:

  • Goal 12 – Responsible consumption and production
  • Goal 13 – Climate action
  • Goal 17 – Partnership for the Goals.

In the context of ESG, recycling machines are an attractive solution for companies for many different reasons. First, they support the development of environmental awareness in the community. Second, they contribute to the reduction of emissions of harmful substances by reducing the consumption of natural resources. In addition, placing such a device on the company’s premises can improve its reputation, which translates into a positive image of the company in the eyes of customers and local communities.

Read more about ESG reporting on our blog.

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