Michigan, USA – For third-generation grocery store owner, James Haines, the grocery business has been a passion and a privilege. As an owner of Central ShopRite for the last 23 years, he has seen what works in his business and what needs improvements. When it comes to container recycling, James has done his share of hand-sorting and packing bottles. TOMRA’s reverse vending machines have made a huge improvement in the handling of empty beverage containers.
RECYCLING GETS CLEANER
When the Bottle Bill container deposit system went into effect in Michigan, it became a greater challenge to ensure that the handling of dirty bottles and cans didn’t contaminate the store’s perishables. James spent countless hours throughout the years writing to his state representatives to communicate how to best recycle products in Michigan.
That all changed in 1997 when Central ShopRite became a TOMRA customer. TOMRA’s reverse vending machines (RVMs) changed the way the retailer handled recycling at the grocery store. “Since using TOMRA RVMs, especially the T-90s, there is no need for a separate room for recycling, since the system is so clean,” said James Haines, Store Owner, Central ShopRite Michigan.
Haines loves the technology behind TOMRA’s RVMs and currently has four T-90 InPac reverse vending machines in his store. “The machines are at the front entrance of the store now, so it’s the first thing people see when they walk in. The T-90s are truly impressive with their sleek look and interactive touchscreen, providing customers with a fun user experience.”
Haines recognizes the value of a clean and attractive recycling experience. As an added investment in his store’s bottle return area, James had a trench installed, which provides a constant flow of hot water along the front of the machines. The trench captures any excess liquid from the beverage containers as people insert them, further contributing to a first-rate recycling experience for his customers.
ENGAGING WITH CUSTOMERS
Haines is also a big fan of TOMRA’s customer recycling loyalty program, TOMRA Makes Change (part of TOMRA Connect digital solutions), because it encourages people to recycle and has brought new customers to the store.
He reports that the T-90s provide a fun user experience. “The recycling loyalty program has given our store a competitive edge. Customers started coming in to use our reverse vending machines and now do their shopping with us,” he said.
“Our goal is to continue to grow the program by promoting it on the TVs we have connected to the T-90s and through our store signage. Moving forward, we plan to utilize statistics and demographics and create fun videos that drive and grow the program to both existing and new customers.”
For more information, visit tomra.com.