If current growth rates hold steady, then the population of the Earth will increase by approximately 50 % over the next 50 years - from 6.1 billion people to 9.3 billion people. Extrapolating figures from the predicted world population boom, the amount of beverage containers used in 2050 will total over 4.4 trillion units.
The answer to such an enormous environmental burden obviously is not more landfill space. Given the high share of beverage containers in household waste (which is estimated at being between 30-50 %), innovative solutions to promote recycling of these items are required. No corporation is doing more in this regard than the Norwegian company TOMRA.
Ever since its invention and introduction of the world's first reverse vending machine in 1972, TOMRA has been at the forefront of this industry's development. Key to TOMRA recycling solutions is the ability to deliver an effective incentive to consumers to recycle while enabling a highly efficient process of collection through advanced container recognition technology. Through a combination of shape detection, image processing, barcode reading, and material identification, TOMRA's reverse vending machines can separate all different types of plastic, aluminium, glass and steel. Such comprehensive recognition makes for more effective material separation, which leads to more cost-efficient systems in the 40 countries around the globe where TOMRA machines are in use.