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Austria: Discounter Hofer installs reverse vending machines from Tomra

Discount Retail Chain Hofer (owned by Aldi Süd) is introducing reverse vending machines from Tomra for both disposable and reusable beverage containers in all its Austrian Hofer stores. After a test phase in the Wels area since this year’s January, 130 of the 530 Aldi stores operated under the Hofer banner name have already been converted and two machines from the market leader from Norway Tomra have been installed in each of them. Beverage crates can also be returned at one of the two devices in the Hofer stores. Tomra also supplies Aldi Süd in Germany with reverse vending machines.

What may surprise the taxpayer: Although Hofer’s investment is driven by the upcoming legal obligation in Austria to sell beverages also in reusable packaging and to deposit and take back disposable beverage containers, the company receives subsidies from the European Union from the NextGeneration EU programme to do so.

Aldi Süd does not voluntarily introduce reusable beverage containers: In Austria, every grocery retail outlet must by law sell at least 10 per cent, and in some cases at least 15 per cent, of beer, milk and non-alcoholic beverages in reusable packaging from January 2024. Hofer has already introduced reusable packaging for: “Zurück zum Ursprung” organic hay milk, Römerquelle mineral water 1 litre, Coca Cola 1 litre as well as beer from Gösser, Stiegl and Zipfer.

Compulsory deposit on disposables comes to Austria in 2025

And also the initiative to take back disposable beverage containers has not been taken by discounters without some push from the legislator. Similar to Germany, a mandatory take-back system for plastic bottles and cans with a deposit system is to be introduced in Austria in 2025.


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