Reverse Vending Machine Pilot Scheme

What is a Reverse Vending Machine?

Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) is an automatic device that allows consumers to feed in used beverage containers (e.g. plastic beverage containers) for instant rebate. It is usually equipped with scanning function to verify the barcodes on containers to ensure that only designated containers are accepted. Many RVMs are also equipped with compression function to reduce the volume of beverage containers so as to enhance its handling and storage capacity. In general, RVMs can usually support instant electronic payment and redemption of cash coupons for consumers to shop at participating retail stores.

 

RVM Pilot Scheme

To pave way for the future Producer Responsibility Scheme on Plastic Beverage Containers (PPRS), the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has rolled out a one-year RVM Pilot Scheme in the first quarter of 2021 to test out the application of RVMs in Hong Kong. Under the pilot scheme, 60 RVMs would be installed in phases at locations such as public places or government facilities with relatively high foot traffic, with provision of instant rebate ($0.1 per plastic beverage container) via e-payment platform to encourage the public to return their used plastic beverage containers. Each Octopus card or Alipay (Hong Kong) account allows the public to return a maximum of 30 plastic beverage containers and redeem the rebate in a day. Members of the public may also choose to donate the rebate (no daily limit imposed) to designated charities (the Community Chest, the Scout Association of Hong Kong or the Hong Kong Girl Guides Association) to benefit the community. All the plastic beverage containers collected would be delivered to suitable local recyclers, as arranged by the Government-appointed contractor, to ensure proper recycling. First batch of RVMs has been put into service for trial use in January 2021.

 

Three features of the RVMs

Convenient return

Instant rebate or charity donation

More efficient remote management

 

Location


Tips for returning beverage containers

 

Enquiry

Hotline (9:00am to 10:00pm): 9488-0277 (Support WhatsApp)

Email: enquiry@hkrvm.com.hk

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How long would the RVM Pilot Scheme last? When did the pilot scheme commence?
A1: The pilot scheme is a one-year programme with 60 RVMs installed in phases. The first batch of RVMs under the pilot scheme has been put into service since January 2021.
   
Q2: Where are the RVMs? What are their service hours?
A2: The locations and service hours of the RVMs are shown at www.hkrvm.com.hk. The service hours of RVMs may vary depending on the opening hours of individual venues.
   
Q3: How does the RVM operate?
A3: The public may refer to the demonstration video on the EPD website for the steps of using the RVM. Besides, the interactive screen on the RVM would also provide instructions for returning the containers. The public could choose to redeem their rebate either through Octopus or Alipay (Hong Kong), or to donate their rebate to one of the designated charitable organizations. The public may then follow the instructions on the screen to put plastic beverage containers into the RVM. For any enquiries on operation of RVM, please contact the pilot scheme hotline (9488-0277) by phone or through Whatsapp messaging application.
   
Q4: Which types of plastic containers are covered in the pilot scheme?
A4: The RVMs only accept plastic beverage containers of volume in the range of 100mL to 2L that are commonly circulated in the Hong Kong market. Before returning a container, the public should empty the content, keep bottle sleeve, barcode and cap and make sure the botte is not deformed.
   
Q5: Should the public remove sleeves on beverage containers before returning them using RVMs?
A5: The RVMs would scan the barcodes on the containers to verify whether they are the designated plastic beverage containers covered by the RVM database. The public should keep the bottle sleeves or labels with barcodes on them and keep the containers in their own shapes without deformation so as to ensure the containers can be recognized by the RVMs. It is also not required to remove the bottle caps for separate handling.
   
Q6: Under what circumstances would a container be rejected by RVMs?
A6: The possible causes for rejection of container by RVMs may include:
  1. The container is not a plastic beverage container;
  2. Volume of the container is less than 100mL or more than 2L;
  3. The container is in deformed shape;
  4. The container does not have any identifiable barcode or the RVM cannot identify the barcode of the container;
  5. The barcode of the container is not covered by the RVM database (for example, the beverage product not sold in Hong Kong or just newly introduced into the Hong Kong market); or
  6. There is a significant amount of residual liquid inside the container.
   
Q7: How should the public handle plastic beverage containers that are not recognizable by RVMs?
A7: The public may bring the plastic beverage containers not recognizable by RVMs to the nearby collection points (for example, plastic recycling bins, Recycling Stores (formerly known as “Community Recycling Centres”) or Recycling Stations (formerly known as “Community Green Stations”)) for proper recycling. Also, the public is encouraged to share with us information of the concerned plastic containers via the pilot scheme hotline (9488-0277) by phone or through the Whatsapp messaging application for verifying the barcodes and updating the RVM database.
   
Q8: Any limit on the amount of rebate redeemable each time/ each day?
A8: Instant rebate is provided to the public for returning plastic beverage container to the RVMs. Each Octopus card or Alipay (Hong Kong) account allows the public to return a maximum of 30 plastic containers and redeem the rebate in one day. Once the daily limit is reached, the public cannot use that card or account to return plastic beverage containers at any other RVMs under the pilot scheme for rebate redemption on that day.
   
Q9: If the public does not have Octopus card / Alipay (Hong Kong) account, could the public request to have the rebate paid by coins?
A9: The RVMs would only provide rebate in the form of e-money through Octopus card or Alipay (Hong Kong) account.
   
Q10: What is the arrangement for the public to donate their rebate?
A10: The public may follow the instructions on the RVM interactive screen to choose donating their rebate to "the Community Chest", "the Scout Association of Hong Kong" or "the Hong Kong Girl Guides Association" for charitable purposes. On confirmation of the amount of rebate and selection of beneficiary organization, an electronic receipt would be displayed on the screen. The public may take photo of it for record if necessary.
   
Q11: How could the public handle their plastic beverage containers on hand if the interactive screen of a RVM show that it is full?
A11: The RVMs are provided with self-monitoring function. Notification would be sent out automatically to the contractor before a RVM reaches its maximum capacity. Meanwhile, the public may also inform the contractor via the pilot scheme hotline (9488 0277) by phone or through Whatsapp messaging application. The contractor would arrange collection of the plastic containers as soon as possible. Besides, the public may get the information of the locations and status of other RVMs at www.hkrvm.com.hk and bring their plastic beverage containers to other RVMs for proper recycling.
   
Q12: What should the public do if a RVM suddenly stops operation when it is in use?
A12: The public may record down the RVM location, the date and time of the incident, the error code displayed on the screen (if any) and specific problems concerned and then contact the pilot scheme hotline (9488 0277) by phone or through Whatsapp messaging application.
   
Q13: What should the public do if a RVM does not provide any rebate after accepting the containers?
A13: The public may record down the RVM location, the date and time of the incident, the number of containers accepted and the Octopus account/ Alipay (Hong Kong) account involved and then contact the pilot scheme hotline (9488-0277) by phone or through Whatsapp messaging application.
   
Q14: How many plastic beverage containers could be stored in each RVM?
A14: The RVM is equipped with compression function to compress the received plastic beverage containers so as to reduce their volume and enhance the handling and storage capacity of the machine. Each RVM can store about 1,000 compressed plastic beverage containers of 500ml in volume.
   
Q15: How would the Government handle the plastic beverage containers collected under the pilot scheme?
A15: The contractor appointed by the Government is responsible for collecting plastic beverage containers from the RVMs and delivering them to suitable recyclers for proper treatment and recycling locally.
   
Q16: How would the Government ensure that RVMs are maintained in good hygienic condition?
A16: All RVMs are equipped with ozone system for automatic disinfection. Besides, the contractor would conduct regular RVM cleaning and implement additional measures according to the actual operational need to ensure all RVMs are maintained in good hygienic condition.
   
Q17: What could the public do if he/ she has any questions on the RVM Pilot Scheme?
A17: The public is welcome to contact the pilot scheme hotline (9488-0277) by phone or through Whatsapp messaging application for any questions relating to the RVM Pilot Scheme.
   
Q18: Apart from the RVM Pilot Scheme, are there any other RVMs rolled out by the EPD?
A18: EPD has also provided support, under different schemes, to some other RVM projects to promote recycling of used plastic beverage bottles, including the following:
 
Location of RVM Number of RVM(s) Acceptable recyclables Duration Operating Organization Enquiry number
Cyberport 2-CyberLab 1 Plastic beverage bottles and aluminium cans Apr 2021 to Sep 2022 Carbon World Limited 2388 0821
Fo Tan Industrial Centre 1 Plastic beverage bottles and aluminium cans Apr 2021 to Sep 2022 Carbon World Limited 2388 0821
Waterside Plaza 1 Plastic beverage bottles Apr 2022 to Nov 2022 Cornerstone Renewable Energy Limited 9165 0496
The Waterside 1 Plastic beverage bottles Apr 2022 to Nov 2022 Cornerstone Renewable Energy Limited 9165 0496
Kowloon Plaza 1 Plastic beverage bottles Apr 2022 to Nov 2022 Cornerstone Renewable Energy Limited 9165 0496
Gold Coast Piazza 1 Plastic beverage bottles Apr 2022 to Nov 2022 Cornerstone Renewable Energy Limited 9165 0496
The Centrium 1 Plastic beverage bottles Apr 2022 to Nov 2022 Cornerstone Renewable Energy Limited 9165 0496
Far East Finance Centre 1 Plastic beverage bottles Apr 2022 to Nov 2022 Cornerstone Renewable Energy Limited 9165 0496
Empire Centre 1 Plastic beverage bottles Apr 2022 to Nov 2022 Cornerstone Renewable Energy Limited 9165 0496
Commune Modern 1 Plastic beverage bottles Apr 2022 to Nov 2022 Cornerstone Renewable Energy Limited 9165 0496