Tomra launches digital payouts through loyalty programs

Consumers returning drink containers for recycling could now receive their deposit refunds through their store’s app, instead of paid out as a paper voucher.

Tomra has launched a Digital Payout API that lets stores, recycling depots and administrators of deposit return systems offer paperless payout of recycling refunds through apps and loyalty programs. This allows stores to integrate reverse vending activity into existing loyalty outreach efforts. It also reduces the need for staff to handle cash in store.

The system is being used in two locations – in Sweden with the central system administrator of the local deposit return system, and in Belgium with a large grocery retailer.

The Digital Payout can be made as either a digital voucher or as an electronic transfer instantly to the user’s account on a loyalty app (or bank account).

Until now the myTomra app was the only paperless payout option for Tomra reverse vending machines, but the Digital Payout API offers the first opportunity for the service to be integrated into partners’ digital systems.

To use Digital Payout, the recycler simply opens their loyalty app and scans the QR-code on the reverse vending machine at the beginning of their container return session. When they end their session, the user will be notified that a digital record of the transaction will be sent. The payout amount will instantly appear in their bank account or store loyalty app – as a digital voucher to scan at the cash register, or as credit toward future purchases via the app.

“The Digital Payout API enables stores, depots and central system operators to extend their interaction with consumers in a new way. It can consolidate relationships to loyalty program participants, attract customers to be part of their loyalty schemes, and bring more recyclers to their return locations,” explained Aleksander Mortensen, head of commercial at TOMRA Collection.

“The seamless digital payout and integration with existing loyalty programs is more convenient for the individual consumer. It also saves paper and engages consumers to contribute to the environment and store sustainability initiatives.”

The central system administrator for Sweden’s container deposit return system, Returpack, has launched a digital recycling experience by integrating the Digital Payout API with the “MinPant” (“MyDeposit”) app. Digital Payout is being implemented with major Swedish retailers in eight stores on Tomra reverse vending machines, with a goal of making it available nationwide as a payout option.

Another implementation of the Digital Payout API is also under way with a large grocery retailer in Belgium, integrated with the store’s loyalty app. Digital Payout is live in 84 stores in its chain and has already generated more than 30,000 digital transactions, with an increasing trend in usage.