April 24, 2017


Contact information:

Johanna Reimers, CEO,

The world’s first reverse vending machine for batteries is launched in Norway

Although most Norwegians are aware of the environmental dangers of waste batteries, a lot of these still end up in the household waste. In order to increase the recycling level, Coop Norway and Energizer are launching the world’s first reverse vending machine for batteries, developed by Swedish Refind Technologies.

Each year 2000 tonnes of household batteries are consumed in Norway, and many of these are collected as special waste. In a population survey performed by YouGov for Coop Norway and Energizer, as many as 2 6% says they throw used batteries in the household waste. At the same time, over 80 % of the people say that they know that waste batteries may contain hazardous material, and equally as many respond that it is important to recycle batteries.

-        Coop is owned by its customers and we want to make it as simple as possible to make environmentally conscious choices. Norwegians are good at recycling, but can be better. Awareness is good as a motivational factor, but further incentives as a financial reward can be even more important. We are therefore happy to try out this reverse vending machine in our Obs! stores in cooperation with Energizer, says Geir Inge Stokke, concern manager of Coop.

It is likely to believe that a reverse vending machine will have a positive effect. In the population survey, half of the participants answered that a payback structure would influence the amount of batteries returned.

-        We are proud of the cooperation with Coop Norway about this great initiative enabling the awareness of and consumer motivation for battery recycling. As the largest battery manufacturer in the world we look at the entire life cycle of a battery, from production to waste, says Richard Podevin, head of Northwest Europe Marketing at Energizer.

The reverse vending machine that is launched on April 22nd, on Earth Day, that is to be tested in selected Obs! stores around Oslo, is the world’s first of its kind. The machine is developed by Swedish tech company Refind, and allows the customers to return all types of household batteries in a similar way as a reverse vending machine for bottles. The customers will receive a discount of one krone per battery in the form a discount coupon that can be used when buying new batteries.

-        This is one of the most fun and exciting projects we have been working with. We know everything about recognizing and handling batteries, and the challenge was to make it cost efficient, user friendly and precise, says Johanna Reimers, CEO of Refind Technologies. We have worked with battery collectors and recyclers within the recycling chain, using our automatic recognition technology, but this is the first time we are working with a large producer. We hope that this can be an inspiration for everyone within battery recycling.

The reverse vending machine will be available for customers at Obs! Lilleström on April 22nd, Obs! Alnabru on April 29th and at Obs! Vinterbro on May 6th. We have included some highlights from the launch in this blog post.