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DIY Reverse Vending Machine

Sagar Sharma sharma-sagar

DIY Reverse Vending Machine

19/02/2017 at 16:35

I’d like to know if anyone knows how to make or how a reverse vending machine can be made? Basically the function of the machine is that you deposit empty plastic bottles in it and in return it will dispense a discount coupon or reward coupon something like this. It can be placed at bus stops, railway station etc to encourage proper disposal of bottle in return of a reward.
I’d like to work on it, please give your input and help me out.

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19/02/2017 at 20:54

Wow! That sounds interesting!
However, (all I can do is a thought experiment) I see some difficulties in this. First, you need some sort of sensor that senses 1) that something is inserted and 2) WHAT it is. e.g. what are you doing with a tissue or a half eaten burger that someone silly would throw in? so you need a bin for everything non-wanted.
For detection I think the best thing would be a camera, since it can see the difference between plastic and waste. The coupon-making should be no problem, the only thing is to make it fake-proof. What comes to mind there would be (Internet connection needed :/ ) a barcode generator, that creates a unique barcode that is assigned with the maount of (money) it is worth ( I hope I did not misunderstand your idea. ) So then basically you need to connect the camera to a microcomputer (Raspberry Pi e.g.). The microchip detects the shape of a bottle and [example] the platform, where the bottle is placed turns left to throw the bottle into a bag or turns right to throw it away. I think the rest (connecting to the internet, printing etc.) is self explanatory.
That’s at least my first approach to it!

Please keep us updated, I really like your idea!

PS: Do you mean sth like this:?

19/02/2017 at 23:41

@flo-2 yeah exactly like the one in the picture. The issue here is to 1) how to make it in a way that it can be easily replicated 2) keep the cost less

regarding the coupon part, i was thinking of filling the compartment with already printed coupon stacks and it would carefully dispense one coupon on command,kinda how ATM dispenses currency

04/03/2017 at 05:46

Hi @sharma-sagar
In our project we are working on a point reward system, I don’t think you need to use vending machines in third world countries where labour is so cheap, we think is better to invest on the rewards.

We are creating a point reward system where you give me an ECOBRICK, and I give in return added value products, some of which will be made out of trash like PET lanterns, but even greater rewards like small solar panels.

Hope my input helps

have a great day sir

04/03/2017 at 18:47

One day per week, 1-2 persons, location, car/truck (not autonomous):

Depending on the location, for example in a crowded city with many homeless people, you could have a collect-day: like every Friday, one or two persons gather on a well-known, central square/location with a car/truck where people can leave plastic. This way, it will be easy to handle the plastic and in exchange give money/reward system.

04/03/2017 at 19:57

@tono @playhost thanks for your advice but im looking for a more autonomous way hence the term machine in the title. thanks anyways😃

27/04/2017 at 06:16

I do not know for sure how they worked, but in the Netherlands, in the bigger supermarkets, a few years ago, one could put empty bottles of all kinds on a moving belt and after you finished you pressed a button and out came a ticket with the value for the various bottles. The ticket you could cash in at the till.

13/05/2017 at 14:10

@tono That’s a good insight! It would have a larger personal impact than a vending machine! It might help in giving good habits to kids too if they get rewarded with something they would love to have!

18/06/2017 at 06:31

Similar idea, might be useful. This dispenses food for stray animals though.

19/06/2017 at 11:52

As i know in Finnland there are this machines in every shop. They gave you ticket, that you can exchange on money, or use them to buy something in this market.

19/06/2017 at 21:18

Yeah the same in Norway and Sweden. You basically pay extra when you buy a plastic bottle or drinking can and you get that extra you paid back, when you return it. I think it’s a great system.
At some bins they also incorporate a partition for placing your bottle. This so that in case somebody doesn’t feel like keeping the bottle and bringing it to the supermarket, that somebody else can more easily collect them and return them to get the money for it.
How the machine works is that it scans the bar code on the label, so you cannot use bottles or cans that were sold in a different country.

31/07/2017 at 21:42

They have something like it happening at Mumbai stations already, but it trned out unsuccessful either i believe because companies stopped or customers didn’t care enough. Theres a recent news article on it.

05/09/2017 at 21:19

Nice idea!! The coupon thing is a great way to get people in the loop to buy products that are made from recycled plastic.

Would it be an idea to make PP coins for this?

The Machines that @jaybird showed look like a good start.

Does anyone have an idea how they work?


24/10/2017 at 04:28

Why pay for plastic waste? I wait until I have a bag of recycling plastic before I head to the recycling center. If I saw that you had a recycling bin on the way to my recycling center, I could save some time and energy buy using your bin and not theirs.
But if you insist on spending your money on recycling stuff. you can talk to the Cub Scout or the Boy Scout or the girl scout leaders in your area who are always looking for extra money to sell you their recycling plastic. They would even clean it for you.

13/11/2017 at 03:41

If you’re just throwing all the bottles into a bag inside and not crushing them the machine could be relatively cheap but would need emptying very regularly.

Identifying plastics is tricky, you could get a database of product barcodes that are products that use plastics you want then you could use a barcode scanner to identify valid items, preferably the items would roll into the machine and be scanned rather than the user scanning them as it is less likely to be tricked by the user if they can’t scan an item ten times and just put junk in not the scanned item.

As to the coupons I wouldn’t prefil the machine the mechanics of spitting those out are more trouble than it is worth when software can solve your problem. Get a second-hand point of sale recipe printer and connect it to a cheap computer (or raspberry pi or similar) inside the machine and have it print out a ticket to the value of however much has been put in once the user presses a done button. If you’re not at all concerned about security you can just print a coupon with little care, if you care a little software can create numbers for barcodes etc that can be checked to make sure they’re a valid possible number (but that simple mechanism can’t be sure the machine made the number or someone figured out which mechanism you’re using to make the numbers and made a number themselves), if you care a lot public-private key pairs can be used to create the coupon codes (the machine has a key that encrypts the data and whoever is accepting the coupons has another key that decrypts the data). All of those can be done without the internet, if you have the internet you could also use a secure connection to a database online to create and save coupon codes then the person accepting the codes can just check the database. One final option is use a third party rewards system, you pay them a small amount and they create the coupons for you or otherwise save the persons reward points online (such as Rewardle here in Australia).

25/11/2017 at 22:55

If you haven’t read this already take a look! written June 29 2017


29/11/2017 at 07:58

01/01/2018 at 05:46

Strangely enough, in Bali, a place becoming world famous for its lack of waste management infrastructure, we have exactly what you describe.
Working trash ATMs.

31/07/2018 at 17:40

Hi, i am developing a reverse vending machine, this machine uses python and opencv to read the bar codes of the bottles and then can be separated into different containers depending on the color or type of plastic. In addition I have installed a thermal printer to be able to deliver tikets for discounts or exchanges. There is still a lot of development but the machine is already working. If anyone has any idea how to add this project to plastics prices would be great.

Maquina de venta en Reversa de envases plasticos

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