Closeup of a bottle inside a reverse vending machine

Modern RVMs accomplish astonishing things

Our collected single-use bottles or cans disappear into the flashing shaft of the RVM. Then, occasionally, you hear a soft crunch. After a final push of the button, a perfectly calculated deposit receipt slides into your hand within seconds. How does it work? Or rather, why doesn't it work – for example, when we want to exchange the "wrong" packaging for deposit money?

Infallible technology

In reliably distinguishing single-use beverage packaging that is included in the DPG deposit system – and thus has a deposit value – from non-deposited packaging, while simultaneously cleanly separating different materials from one another, modern RVMs certified by the DPG do an absolutely astonishing job.

In the brightly lit input shaft, up to six highly sensitive cameras analyze individual packages for security elements such as the DPG deposit logo and the primary distributor's barcode in fractions of a second. Due to the high deposit value – €0.25 per container in Germany – visual reading and recognition units must deliver absolutely reliable results to ensure secure deposit clearing. At the same time, automatic database reconciliation allows bottles or cans to be uniquely assigned to a specific material, thus supporting recycling by type. This is because there are several collection containers behind the feed chute in which these materials are collected separately and then sent for high-quality recycling.

In the service of circular economy

The foundation of every functioning deposit system is the reliable recognition of each returned beverage bottle or can. This is why the technology and data processing installed in more than 40,000 active RVMs is constantly being further developed. The DPG operates independently of individual RVM manufacturers. As a result of the competition that exists among the various RVM manufacturers, all DPG system participants benefit from permanent innovation processes and fair prices for services and technology. Thus consumers also benefit from the latest developments.

This is also true for the optimized recognition technology ­ cameras arranged in a circle directly in the feed opening ­ which is already leading to a significant acceleration of the return process compared to older technology, where deposit containers sometimes still rotate for seconds in the feed shaft as the machine searches for identifiable security features. Other innovations – for example, the possibility of entering not just individual packaging units but several at once and then having them processed – are currently being tested by various suppliers and some have even already been tested on the market.


A win-win situation for everyone involved – but especially for our environment.

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