Discarded batteries are known to be bad for the environment, so a Swedish tech waste management company has come up with a solution that they hope will solve the problem: pay people to recycle them.

Refind Technologies has launched what they call “the world’s first reverse vending machine for batteries” in Norway.

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The kiosks are being rolled across Coop Obs! stored managed by Coop Norway, where customers who return household batteries will receive a discount of one krone (9p) per battery in the form of coupons – which can then be used to buy new batteries.

Refind Technologies and Coop Norway worked with battery giant Energizer as part of a joint effort to reduce the amount of hazardous battery waste endangering the environment.

Lead-acid batteries contain nickel and cadmium which are known to be extremely toxic.

The initiative followed after YouGov performed a survey for Coop Norway and Energizer and found that 26% of those surveyed said they throw used batteries in the household waste.

According to the poll, that’s 500 tonnes of batteries ending up in the general landfill every year.

Reverse battery vending machine.
(Refind/YouTube screenshot)


“This is one of the most fun and exciting projects we have been working with,” said Johanna Reimers, chief executive of Refind Technologies.

“We know everything about recognising and handling batteries, and the challenge was to make it cost efficient, user friendly and precise.

“We have worked with battery collectors and recyclers within the recycling chain, using our automatic recognition technology, but this is the first time we are working with a large producer.

“We hope that this can be an inspiration for everyone within battery recycling.”

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