Reverse Vending Machines at 18 Link Malls across Hong Kong

April 2021
Link has placed reverse vending machines in 18 of its malls where members of public can get cash rebate or making donation by recycling plastic bottles.

According to the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), in 2019, about 1.55 billion plastic beverage bottles were discarded in Hong Kong, representing an average of over 200 bottles per person and with a total weight equalling that of 2,690 double-decker buses. Needless to say, this poses a serious threat to the environment.

To reduce plastic waste, the EPD launched the "Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) Pilot Scheme" (the Scheme) in recent months, through which people can choose to receive an instant rebate of $0.1 per plastic beverage container or donate the amount to one of three designated charitable organisations.

As a Scheme participant, Link has placed RVMs in 18 of its shopping malls across Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories, making it more convenient for members of the public to return bottles. These malls include: Siu Sai Wan Plaza, Hing Tung Shopping Centre, Nam Cheong Place, Tsz Wan Shan Shopping Centre, Tak Tin Plaza, Lok Wah Commercial Centre, Choi Yuen Plaza, Cheung Fat Plaza, Wo Che Plaza, Hin Keng Shopping Centre, Fu Shin Shopping Centre, Tai Wo Plaza, Choi Ming Shopping Centre, Choi Yuen Plaza, Tin Shing Shopping Centre, Kin Sang Shopping Centre and Fu Tung Plaza.

Recycling the plastic bottle
Receiving a rebate through Octopus card

Recycling for environment and local community

The RVMs accept plastic beverage containers with volumes ranging from 100 millilitres to 2 litres that are commonly circulated in the Hong Kong market. Each RVM has an easy-to-use interactive touchscreen, which guides users through the various steps as follows:

  1. Before returning a container, you should empty the contents, keep the cap and barcode on the bottle.
  2. Press “Start”.
  3. Click to choose whether you want to receive a rebate (either through Octopus or Alipay (Hong Kong)), or whether you want to make a donation to one of the three designated charitable organisations: the Community Chest of Hong Kong, the Scout Association of Hong Kong or the Hong Kong Girl Guides Association.
  4. For rebates through Octopus, tap your card first. For rebates through Alipay, turn on the top-up function of the app, select the “Merchant Outlets” page and scan the QR code on the app on the mobile device using the RVM sensor. Then press “Start Recycling”.
  5. After the door opens and the light turns green, insert one plastic bottle at a time with the barcode facing upwards into the RVM to verify the acceptability of the bottle. Once the RVM gives confirmation, the bottle will be automatically collected into the RVM.
  6. Finally, if you have chosen to receive a rebate, press “Rebate” and tap your Octopus card or scan the QR code on the Alipay app again. When the RVM shows the electronic receipt, press “Confirm” to complete the transaction.
Bottle collected into the Reverse Vending Machine
Checking the volume of the Reverse Vending Machine

Maximising convenience to promote recycling

The government-appointed contractor is responsible for collecting plastic beverage containers from the RVMs and delivering them to suitable recyclers for proper treatment and recycling locally. The RVMs will collect data to analyse the success rate of bottle recycling and the volume level of each machine.

To ensure bottles are being successfully collected by the RVMs, here are a couple tips: make sure the bottle is not deformed and check the volume of the RVM on this web page in advance to avoid a fruitless trip. In addition, it’s useful to know that each Octopus card or Alipay (Hong Kong) account has a rebate limit of 30 plastic bottles.

To learn more about the Scheme, please visit this website.

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