Technological watch

Tomra celebrates fifty years and aims for a world without waste

On March 31, Tomra, the global provider of advanced collection and sorting systems, celebrated its 50th anniversary. “We live in a world that needs big transformation. We urgently need to improve sustainability, develop the circular economy, and make more efficient use of resources - challenges which Tomra’s solutions can help address”, Tove Andersen, Tomra’s president and chief executive officer, explained.

Tomra was founded in Norway on April 1, 1972, by brothers Petter and Tore Planke. After seeing a local grocer struggle with the manual collection of empty bottles in their store, the brothers developed the first fully automated reverse vending machine (RVM) in their family’s garage. This invention was ground-breaking for recycling processes and its concept is used today around the world. Over the years, Tomra’s technology expanded to include advanced sorting systems for the food, recycling, and mining industries. These innovative solutions optimize resource recovery and minimize waste for a more sustainable future - benefitting businesses, governments, consumers and our environment.

Today, Tomra employs more than 4,600 people around the world and has annual sales of 1 billion euros. Committed to innovation, 20% of the group’s workforce and eight percent of its revenues are dedicated to research and development. To meet Tomra’s ambition to have increased global recycling collection to 40% and increased plastics in closed-loop systems to 30% by 2030, the company plans to continue its growth and increase headcount. The expansion will explore new business opportunities, develop solutions to mitigate climate change, and in doing so, preserve natural resources for future generations. Digital transformation is at the heart of the company’s vision for the future with Tomra Insight, a cloud-based data analysis platform with remote service capability. It offers recyclers a state-of-the-art approach to improve sorting performance and reduce operating costs.

Tomra Recycling is a leading global supplier of sensor-based sorting solutions and connected digital services that transform waste into valuable secondary raw materials. The company has installed over 8,200 sorting units for waste and metal recycling in more than 100 countries worldwide. Designed and built to maximize recycling yields, Tomra machines can be put to the test at any of its seven test centres worldwide.

Renown in the industry for outstanding performance and precision, Tomra sorting systems help close the loop for metals, plastics, paper, packaging, glass and much more. With its newest generation Autosort, recyclable materials are effortlessly sorted from even the most complex mixed waste streams. The multifunctional sorting system has made an evolutionary jump over the years with its complementary technologies, giving recyclers more operational flexibility to meet the demands of a dynamic marketplace.

Sensor-based sorting technology plays a significant role in enabling a world without waste, diverting valuable resources from incineration or landfills. With sorting systems that redefine machine capability and set new standards in performance, Tomra Recycling is a trusted leader in the industry. The company’s in-house team of sorting experts, mechanical engineers, application specialists and software developers aim to provide even more advanced solutions in the future to mitigate the world’s resource crisis.

Publication date: 06/04/2022


This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31