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Procedia Computer Science 105 (2017) 75 – 80

2016 IEEE International Symposium on Robotics and Intelligent Sensors (IRIS 2016)

Development of Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) Framework for

Implementation to a Standard Recycle Bin
Razali Tomari a,*, Aeslina Abdul Kadirb, Wan Nurshazwani Wan Zakariaa, Mohd Fauzi
Zakariaa, Mohd Helmy Abd Wahaba and Mohamad Hairol Jabbara
Faculy of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, Parit Raja Batu Pahat 86400, Malaysia
Faculty of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, Parit Raja Batu Pahat 86400, Malaysia


Nowadays with the increasing amount of waste generated and limited landfill space for waste disposal, recycling is one of the
important approaches to manage the waste effectively. The current manual recycling practice in which the user need to bring the
waste in bulk to the recycling center might be hassle and hence become a discouraging factor for them to recycle. To overcome
such an issue, in this project an automated recycle bin with a reward feature is proposed that derived from a reverse vending
machine (RVM) concept. Basically, the system is implemented in a standard recycle bin provided by local municipal that
equipped with microcontroller and collection of sensors. Throughout the process, the sensors responsible to identifying user
information, weight the scale and eventually convert the weight to the corresponding points automatically. Once the process
completed, the user can claim their points by using RFID point card. All the mentioned process will be controlled by a
microcontroller. The system has been implemented in a small scale user testing and the framework shows its effectiveness for
handling the whole process. The prototype is expected to aid in accelerating the motivation among Malaysian to recycle their
waste, and can be one of the frameworks to overcome urban poverty issue by using waste to wealth concept.
© 2016
© 2017 The
Elsevier B.V.
Elsevier This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
Peer-review under responsibility of organizing committee of the 2016 IEEE International Symposium on Robotics and Intelligent
Peer-review under responsibility of organizing committee of the 2016 IEEE International Symposium on Robotics and Intelligent
Sensors (IRIS2016).
Sensors(IRIS 2016).

Keywords: Reverse Vending Machine (RVM), Recycle Bin, RFID.

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +607-453-7518; fax: +607-453-6060.


1877-0509 © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
Peer-review under responsibility of organizing committee of the 2016 IEEE International Symposium on Robotics and Intelligent Sensors(IRIS 2016).
76 Razali Tomari et al. / Procedia Computer Science 105 (2017) 75 – 80

1. Introduction

Recycling is one of the important approaches taken for managing waste effectively. It is a process of collecting and
processing unwanted materials to be turned into new products. Recently in Malaysia, the government will require
the separation of waste at home starting from 1 September 2015. Implementation of the separation of waste at home
would involve state that adopting Act 672, which it will be Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Pahang,
Johor, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Perlis and Kedah. The recycling campaign was started in 1993 and this campaign
has not met the objectives due to less commitment from the community and less serious of awareness about the
program that has been done. At present, the recycling rate in Malaysia is only 10% compared to other countries [1].
The current practice is to separate and collect the recycle waste at home in bulk, then the consumers have to bring
the waste manually to the recycling centre. This hassle steps could be one of the discouraging factors to Malaysian
citizens to recycle. Nevertheless, it is proven that the awareness among citizens on waste recycling is not very good
when they also misused the provided facilities. Considering this problem, it shows that Malaysians are far from
contributing to effective solid waste management system in Malaysia. Due to the lack of land for landfill and also air
pollution as a result of incineration, waste recycling is a very critical issue to be highlighted in waste management.
Ministry of Housing and Local Government aims to achieve a recycling rate of 22% by the year 2020.
Recently, many countries such as China [2], India [3], including Malaysia [4] are moving towards systematic
techniques in managing waste. With the growth of the information technology, the trend is clear that the use of
technology in managing waste has getting an attention nowadays. The utilization of techniques such as RFID [5] has
successfully indicate that technology are capable in providing a facility for the authority to manage waste
effectively, it also can be a contributing factor that lead the people to recycle and manage the waste. In addition,
experience worldwide has proven that rewarding is the most effective way to preserve high participation level in
recycling process [6]. To ensure that the desired goals can be achieved, one of the plausible methods is by
implementing a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) concept in which the user will get their reward when they recycle
their item accordingly.RVM is an innovative concept which has been introduces to help collect recycling materials
effectively and hence boost up recycling activities and consequently improve the waste management. The RVM
machine is usually utilise to encourage community to properly dispose of their waste, particularly recycle materials
such as plastic, paper and aluminium. There are many works done to construct RVM to suit the need of local
community and some of them can be found in [7]. Basically the RVM development research can be divided into
power supply generation [8], types of microcontroller [9] and sensing mechanism [10]. A comprehensive overview
of RVM features and its implementation throughout the world can be found in [11] while a method and apparatus
for detecting fraud attempts in RVM is compressively discussed in [12].
Our system is differ from previous RVM in a way that we implement the develop system into a standard recycle
bin and maintaining the conventional procedure for the user to dump the waste. This product evaluates the value of
the dump waste according to its weight, type and price of the recycle waste. This will benefit the users as well as the
authorities that involved in waste management as all the transactions will be recorded in archive of this automated
system. Apparently, this product will emerge “waste to wealth” concept by motivating and encouraging Malaysians
to recycle as they will be rewarded and eventually increase their awareness on the importance of waste recycling.

2. System Overview

A general overview of the proposed bin processing unit (BPU) system is outlined in Fig.1 which contains two
main modules namely mechanical module and an electrical module. Both parts were installed into a standard 240L
recycle bin provided by the local municipal and the modification is only done to the bin lid part. As for the bin
operating flow, basically nature of the proposed process is almost the same with a standard recycle bin except with
an additional step of point collection. The user opens the bin lid, put the waste inside the bin, close the lid and
eventually touch the point card to obtain the redeemed point. Inside the bin, the system senses the waste, weights its
corresponding amount, calculate the obtained points, display such information for the user to claim and eventually
store it in the bin ROM. On the authority side during the scheduled waste collection time, when the collector touches
his/her authority card to the bin, all the information stored in the bin will be transferred to the collector’s card. The
collector then need to touch his/her card again in the local data processing centre to upload such information in the
centralized server. In the next section, detail information of each sub module will be given.
Razali Tomari et al. / Procedia Computer Science 105 (2017) 75 – 80 77

Mechanical module: Electric & Electronic Module:

x Bin lid design x PCB design
x Rack and pinion system x Sensors arrangement

Fig. 1. General Overview of the proposed Bin Processing Unit (BPU)

2.1. Mechanical Mechanism Development

For the mechanical part, major design idea and concept was gain from the previous version of the BPU.
Physically, the design consisted of two 240L mobile bin that attach together as shown in Fig. 2 that comprises of
HMI and rack & pinion system. In the figure, the barricade is responsible to block and drop the thrown waste in the
BPU to the bin as the slider move to the other direction. The slider is equipped with four load cells and its
movement is generated by rack & pinion system that supported by linear rail to ensure the smoothness of transition
during the process. Since the BPU is originally designed to replace the bin lid, only minimum modification is
needed to utilise the BPU in the existing recycle bin system. The bins can either from the same type of waste or from
a different type during the operation. If the system operate under the same type of waste mode, only one bin will be
activated during operation and the other bin will be locked and act as reserve bin. The role will be switch between
bins when amount of waste in the active bin is full. In a condition when the system is used for a different type of
waste, initially both lids will be locked. When the user wants to throw garbage to the respective bin, s/he needs to
press the selection button at the HMI that represent each bin. Once pressed, the selected bin lid will be unlock and
weight scale move to that location. Once reached, the selected bin then ready to process the waste accordingly. In
this paper, the focus is on operating the BPU by considering two types of recycle bins which are plastic recycle bin
and paper recyle bin.

Fig. 2. Mechanical and electronic components of the BPU

2.2. Electrical and Electronic Development

Several important issues need to be considered in designing the electronic parts for the BPU to ensure its
automated process can work accordingly. These include weight measurement, power consumption, interactive
display, data logger and last but not least the reliability and ease of the part maintenance. Based on these criteria, the
selection of suitable components was made as listed in Fig. 3 (a) with the designed PCB is depicted in Fig. 3(b), in
which can be categorize as an input components and an output components. The former comprises of HMI touch
screen, RFID, PIR sensor, microSD, real time clock and load cell, while the latter consist of HMI screen, buzzer and
DC motor. As for the process, initially microcontroller will verify either the system have a microSD card in the slot
78 Razali Tomari et al. / Procedia Computer Science 105 (2017) 75 – 80

or not. The system will not start if the SD card is not present. If everything is in order processing loop start by PIR
motion sensor senses any motion in front of the bin. When there is no an activity or motion, the HMI will turn into
sleep mode. If instead, HMI will turn on and request the user to select the type of waste that s/he wishes to dump.
Once the user selects the type, the slider (equipped with load cell) moves to the selected bin type and unlocks the lid.
As the user insert the waste into the BPU, its total weight will be automatically displayed and as soon as the user
close the lid, the BPU will be locked and s/he can claim the corresponding point that related to the amount of weight
waste by touching the RFID card. Once the user interaction process is completed, the BPU move the slider to the
other side of the BPU to dump the waste from the BPU into the recycle bin. All the transaction will be recorded and
saved to the SD card and will be collected during waste collection cycle by the local municipal.


HMI Touch Screen

RFID reader

microSD card
PIR Sensor Real Time Clock

DC Motor Load cell

(a) (b)
Fig. 3. Electronic components of the BPU. (a) List of electronic components. (b) Arrangement and PCB design of the components

3. Result and Analysis

In this section, we analysed the performance of the constructed BPU framework which constitute of the
mechanical part and the electronic part. The assessment is divided into three main parts which are visualization of
the prototype flow, BPU repeatability & reproducibility analysis and BPU’s weight scale analysis. Sample snapshot
of the BPU prototype attached with the recycle bin is shown in Fig. 4(a) in which the prototype was constructed
using PVC material. In the figure, sample of HMI screen during operation when waiting user input is also provided.
Fig. 4 (b) shows the PCB output that was constructed based on ferric chloride etchant procedure. From the figure, it
can be seen that the number of wires is significantly reduce and the components is neatly arranged.

(a) (b)
Fig. 4. BPU prototype. (a) Mechanical structure. (b) PCB outcome
Razali Tomari et al. / Procedia Computer Science 105 (2017) 75 – 80 79

3.1. BPU Visualization flow of the prototype

The first assessment was performed to demonstrate the BPU ability for completing the sequence of task starting
from receiving command from the user until the point redemption stage. Fig. 5 shows the results. It shows the
process where initially after user is detected in front of the BPU, the HMI screen is switch on (Fig. 5 (a)). The user is
then directed to the screen to select what type of waste that s/he intended to dump (Fig. 5(b), for this case the user
select the paper type waste in which the location is in the right side of the user. As soon as the slider reach the right
side of the BPU, its lid will be unlocked and the user is asked to open the lid to start dump the waste (Fig. 5(c)). The
user then can put the waste inside the BPU (Fig. 5(d)) and consequently the weight of total dumped waste is
displayed in the screen (Figure. 5(e)). Once finish dumping, the user then close the lid and eventually can claim the
points by touching the RFID card (Fig. 5(f)) that calculated based on the weighted of dumped waste. The prototype
demonstration by user in an exhibition shows promising results although it still in a laboratory prototype phase. We
are now planning to perform experiments at a higher level scale by a high volume user figure, e.g. 100 users.

(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f)

Fig. 5. Prototype demonstration for completing one loop sequence of tasks

3.2. Analysis of BPU Repeatability and Timing

The second assessment aim is to determine the BPU functionality in quantitative way using two parameters
which are repeatability and timing. Repeatability is the variation between the measurements obtained when the user
operating the BPU with a same setup in which they need to dump 1kg of waste. The data was obtained by asking
two users to operate the BPU in a repetition of 50 trials per operator. The successful of each BPU sequences of step
and the time taken to accomplish the process is recorded. From the experiment out of 50 trials, for user A there are
two times of unsuccessful trials which lead to 96% of successful trials. As for operator B, there is just one
unsuccessful trial which produce 98% of successful trials. Both results indicate a promising outcome of the
developed prototype. For the time taken to accomplish the task of both operators, it can be observed from the
experiment that the time required for accomplishing the task becomes decreased as the user familiar with the BPU
operation. Quantitatively, the user A takes an average of 37.33 seconds to complete the whole sequence, while the
user B takes an average of 33.91 seconds.

4.6 BPU’s Weight Scale Analysis

The final assessment is made to determine BPU’s weight scale accuracy in various weight scale tray spot. Since
the weight will be translated into the redemption point later on, accuracy of the weight scale is an important issue.
The assessment is done by locating a 1000g waste in five weight scale tray spot as shown in Fig. 6(a) labelled from
A to D. During assessment, the waste will be placed on the same spot twice in a situation where the slider in the left
side and the right side of the BPU. Average reading of each spot for the two side condition can be seen in Fig. 6(b)
and (c) for the right and left side of the BPU respectively. From the figures, it shows that right side tray have a lesser
accuracy especially in spot D and E while the left side tray does not give a good reading in spot B. All and all after
accumulating all the spot readings in can be conclude that the weight scale can provide a weight reading up about to
the ± 5.5 grams accuracy reading. Such accuracy is acceptable to our BPU system since the BPU redemption part is
only translate a 10gram value into a single redemption point.
80 Razali Tomari et al. / Procedia Computer Science 105 (2017) 75 – 80


(a) (b) (c)

Fig. 6. Weight scale accuracy analysis. (a) Illustration of the spot. Result of weight when the slider in the right side of tray (b) and left side (c)

4. Conclusion

In this paper, a prototype of Reverse Machine prototype that can be fitted to a standard recycle bin provided by
the local municipal is successfully develop and tested. The developed BPU system consists of mechanical part and
an electronic part. The former was fabricated using PVC material while the latter was constructed on a PCB based
on ferric chloride etchant procedure an act as the BPU motherboard. From the BPU analysis, it can be conclude that
the machine capable to successfully accomplished the user interaction tack with an average of 97% successful rate
and average operating time of 35 seconds. As for the weight scale that responsible to measure the amount of dumped
waste, from the assessment of various spots in the weight scale tray it can be deduced that the measurement is
accurate up to ± 5.5 grams.
In future work, we intend to implement the prototype with more users in natural recycle bin operating
environment such as office building, shopping complex, university and schools


The authors would like to thank to Ministry of Education (MOE), for supporting this research under PRGS (Vot. No
G007) and Muhammad Safwan Ahmad Termizi for enhancing the fabricated system.


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