As a technology leader, TOMRA Sorting Solutions continues to be pioneer in sensor-based sorting in the waste and metal recycling industries. Our goal: support our customers to optimize their sustainability and operational value. Our method: use our established and renowned industry expertise to provide state-of-the-art machines and exceptional service throughout the entire process.

Company details

Otto-Hahn-Straße 6 , Mülheim-Kärlich , 56218 Germany

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Business Type:
Industry Type:
Waste and Recycling - Recycling Systems
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)
Year Founded:
Over 1000
100,000,000 - 1,000,000,000 €


TOMRA creates sensor-based solutions for optimal resource productivity – helping our customers increase their financial results and reduce their environmental impact.

TOMRA was founded in 1972 and started out with design, manufacturing and sale of reverse vending machines (RVMs) for automated collection of used beverage containers. Today the TOMRA Group continues to innovate and provide cutting-edge solutions for optimal resource productivity within two main business areas:

  1. Collection Solutions (reverse vending and material recovery)
  2. Sorting Solutions (recycling, mining, food and specialty products).

TOMRA is active in more than 80 markets worldwide with total revenues of NOK ~6.14 billion in 2015. TOMRA has approximately 2,650 employees and is publicly listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

TOMRA with its customers, suppliers and partners, helped avoid the emissions of approximately 26 million tons of CO2 worldwide in 2015.


TOMRA Sorting is the natural choice when it comes to optical sorting solutions. We have a global reach, which is unrivalled in our sector, and are always striving to improve our products and services.

TOMRA Sorting was established in 1996 under the name TITECH and has quickly become the a leading provider not only when it comes to sensor-based sorting, but also on the whole sorting process. We maintain our position by continuous investment in research and development to find new solutions to new sorting problems. TOMRA Sorting employs experts in each of their markets to ensure that you will always receive the best advice and the latest industry information.

We have a truly flexible product portfolio with machines that can be optimised for a number of different sorting tasks, so as your waste streams change. So does your TOMRA sorting machine. Our machines have fast become the first choice of plant builders across the world and we are proud to have strong relationships with many plant builders who know that TOMRA Sorting is a name to trust.

We pride ourselves in building machines that are robust enough to cope with today’s sorting problems, but we also understand the importance of regular maintenance to optimise a machines performance and maximise profits for our customers. We have developed regular maintenance programmes and have a 24hr service hotline for our customers.

TOMRA Sorting is part of the TOMRA group based in Norway, a company which is financially stable and robust enough to cope through these uncertain times.

By choosing TOMRA Sorting you are making an investment for the future and selecting a partner who will keep your risks low and your profits high for years to come.

TOMRA was founded on an innovation for return of empty beverage containers more than forty years ago. In a small shed in Asker, Norway, the brothers Petter and Tore Planke created a solution to a problem: a local grocer wanted a machine that could quickly and easily take back empty bottles. This was the beginning of TOMRA.

On April 1, 1972, TOMRA was officially founded by the Planke family. By the end of 1972, TOMRA had installed 29 machines in Norway. The success of those machines soon began to generate interest abroad. By 1973, TOMRA had entered into several distribution agreements for markets in Europe and the United States.

From 1972 to 1976, TOMRA’s revenues grew from 700,000 NOK to 6.9 million NOK. The first major sales breakthrough happened in 1974 when the Swedish state-owned wine retailer Systembolaget ordered 100 machines, specially adapted to the conveyor equipment that was already installed in their sales outlets.

When the bottle recognition technology was released in 1977, growth really began to take off. The launch of the first self-programmable RVM, the Tomra SP, positioned TOMRA far ahead of competition and well prepared for the entry into the 1980s.

After the stock listing in 1985, optimism ruled as TOMRA positioned itself for growth in the US. Macro-economic conditions wanted otherwise. The Soviet Union dumped millions of tons of aluminum on the world market in 1985, leading to a dramatic drop in the aluminum price. As the aluminum prices plummeted by over 60 percent in four months, there was little incentive left to recycle aluminum cans in non-deposit markets. The substantial financial losses suffered by TOMRA forced the company to abandon most of its US activities in 1986.

Despite losses in the US, TOMRA’s financial supporters still believed in the business potential of the company. From pre-tax losses of 129.6 million NOK in 1986, TOMRA bounced back to deliver a profit of 10.3 million NOK the year after. During this period, TOMRA returned to its roots, concentrating its efforts on solidifying its strong European position and maintaining its leading edge in product development.

The last three years of the 1980s saw TOMRA introduce its next generation RVM, the Tomra 300, revenues increase with 62 percent from 1987 to 1989, and a careful reentry into the US, generating a revenue of 12.1 million NOK in 1989.

The acquisition of material handling company NEROC in 1992 marked the entry into a new era. Before this acquisition, all of TOMRA’s revenues had come from sales and service of RVMs. TOMRA now begun an effort to evolve its business model into the full container recycling value chain, which includes collection, pick-up, processing, material trading, recycling and production of new containers.

During the 1990s, measures were taken to improve efficiency and reduce costs. While the most significant was the gathering of all production in the new headquarters in Norway, efforts were also begun to make the production assembly method more efficient by allowing for delivery of machine components only when an actual order was being prepared for assembly.

In the last five years of the decade, TOMRA’s annual revenues increased from 501 million NOK to 2.1 billion NOK, representing an average annual increase of 46 percent. The most significant factor behind this growth was TOMRA’s growing presence in the United States. By 1999, sales in the US accounted for more than half of total revenues.

On the technology side, a new milestone was reached in 1997 with the launch of the T600. Not since the launch of the Tomra SP in 1977 had the market been introduced to a greater leap in RVM technology. Incorporating a number of innovations including a new container recognition system, horizontal container in-feed, a built-in modem and an advanced graphics display, the T600 introduced a more versatile and user-friendly platform that could easily be configured to meet the need of the shop.

By the end of the decade, TOMRA had developed into a truly international corporation, with over 1700 employees working in 34 different countries and 46 separate markets.

During the first 30 years of its history, TOMRA focused on growing reverse vending business in markets with deposit systems for beverage packaging. In 2000, the company saw that it would need to develop a more comprehensive business platform in order to meet its growth targets.

Efforts included reverse vending projects in Japan and Brazil, but the most notable developments came through a number of strategic acquisitions: TiTech in 2004, the Orwak Group in 2005, Commodas in 2006 and Ultrasort in 2008. Revenues within this new segment of Industrial Processing Technology more than doubled from 379 million NOK in 2005, to 793 million NOK in

The major event of the decade was the implementation of a deposit system for non-refillable containers in Germany, which got TOMRA flying into the latter half of the period. In 2006, TOMRA delivered approximately 8,800 new reverse vending systems to Germany alone. That accounts for about thrice as much as total volume worldwide in a normal year at the time, and Germany has been a key market for TOMRA ever since.

Having worked on developing process analytics for the food industries with QVision, it was not a far-fetched idea for TOMRA to venture further into the food segment. The first acquisition of the decade, Odenberg, brought to the table unique, patented technology and leading market positions in several fast-growing segments of the food sorting and processing industry. With the acquisition of BEST Sorting in 2012, TOMRA gained a position as one of the world’s leading food sorters and an expanded technology portfolio unrivalled by competitors.

Through a significant number of acquisitions, TOMRA had grown into a considerably global company since the first part of the 2000s. In order to galvanize the combined strength of the various subsidiaries, it was decided in 2010 that TOMRA would embark on a strategic process to gather all companies in the Group under one brand umbrella – TOMRA. As part of this strategic process, a new mission and vision was launched in 2012. The rebranding process was concluded in 2015.

The Resource Revolution
As a planet we are running to the end of our leash. The world population will increase by 30% over the next 40 years. An additional seventy million people are entering the middle class every year, increasing overall consumption levels. Global resources are under unprecedented pressure – we need a resource revolution.

Resource productivity must increase to ensure sustainable development. Over the next 40 years, 30% more people will need to be fed with, at best, today’s availability of farmland. Something needs to change.

Rethinking how we obtain, use, reuse and optimize the world’s resources is the right path at the right time. This is how the next revolution begins.

TOMRA's mission
TOMRA's ambition is to be a leader in the resource revolution by creating sensor-based solutions for optimal resource productivity. Providing smart solutions for optimizing our resources – sourcing them, using them, stewarding them, reclaiming them, recycling them and revitalizing them – is key to the resource revolution.

This is not new to us. TOMRA has been in this business for more than 40 years. We know that in order to move forward, we all need to rethink and rework how things have been in the past. Every day we’re focused on transforming how the world obtains, uses and reuses its resources.

In short we aim to help our customers obtain more, use less and reuse resources (better business) and make the planet more sustainable (better environment).

TOMRA’s core values are viewed as one of the most critical aspects of our company culture, reflecting the expectations for how we conduct ourselves and approach our daily tasks.

Our values reflect the best in each and everyone one of us. Our values are critical to everything we do, how we conduct ourselves, and how we lead.

In practicing our shared values we impact how we are perceived by our stakeholders and in turn our ability to achieve business success and growth. Our values serve as the glue that binds us together throughout our widespread operations, providing employees a sense of common fellowship regardless of position, location or cultural background.

Dare. Explore. Advance.

Engage. Inspire. Enjoy.

Commit. Deliver. Care.

Beginning with the invention of the world’s first reverse vending machine in 1972, all the way to providing the most innovative sensor-based sorting solutions today, TOMRA has continuously redefined what it means to be resourceful.

TOMRA has experienced rapid growth throughout its 40-year history. Growth has been driven by a number of strategic shifts involving a combination of organic initiatives and acquisitions. The sum of these developments has shaped a company that today is organized in two strong business areas: TOMRA Collection Solutions and TOMRA Sorting Solutions.

We know that what matters to our customers is to increase productivity and revenues, while ensuring the best quality products. In order to be positioned at the forefront to meet our customers’ demands, we have gone through a transformation. We have gathered all company brands into one, strong, unified TOMRA, focused on pursuing one common mission: to create sensor-based solutions for optimal resource productivity.

Tomra Collection Solutions
Reverse vending – transforming behavior

TOMRA is the undeniable leader in the field of reverse vending of used beverage containers with an estimated 75% market share globally. With a solutions portfolio that is able to fit almost any need, we’re optimizing the handling of used containers in a wide range of business environments. Our continuous research, development and innovation ensure that our customers will have the benefit of the best lifetime value and highest operational ease of any system out there.

The reverse vending customer value proposition:

  • Reduced costs
  • Clearing of deposits
  • High consumer convenience

Material recovery services – transforming efficiency

In Europe, container collection happens in cooperation between the beverage industry and food retail. In the US, there is no such infrastructure. Therefore, TOMRA has developed material recovery services as an enabler to sell reverse vending machines. From logistics to materials processing, and materials marketing and trading to recycling, out Materials Recovery business is integrated throughout the container recycling value chain, and has an estimated 60% market share in markets served.

The Material Recovery customer value proposition:

  • Supply chain management
  • Accountability and integrity
  • Environmental benefits

Tomra Sorting Solutions

The three business streams within TOMRA Sorting Solutions – Food, Recycling, and Mining, come together in a common sensor-based technology portfolio based on a core technology that is the eyes and brains of sorting and processing.

The TOMRA Sorting strategy

TOMRA Sorting focuses on geographical expansion through aggressive targeting of promising regions and markets, and leveraging market presence across entire portfolio. Further, we engage in M&A to consolidate market and enter new business streams.

Maintaining technology leadership position by continuing to invest heavily in R&D, bringing new and enabling technology to the market, and further development of partner network is also a key focus.

We aim to establish cost leadership from utilization of market leader position to maximize economies of scale effect, and effective sourcing in combination with product friendly R&D.

Food – Securing quality, efficiency, and productivity

ODENBERG and BEST are now under the umbrella of TOMRA Sorting Solutions to design and supply innovative world class sorting, peeling and process analytics solutions for a wide range of applications. TOMRA’s Food business stream has an estimated 25% market share, and is a leading provider in several sectors of the food sorting industry, including dried fruit, nuts, fresh cut, fruit, potato, seafood, and vegetable markets.

The Food customer value proposition:

  • Operational efficiency reduces cost
  • Assured consumer food quality and safety
  • Increased revenues

Recycling – transforming efficiency and quality

TOMRA’s Recycling business offers more than 25 different sorting applications that separate a wide range of valuable fractions, including plastics, metals, and paper from waste. Our systems reduce the need for the extraction of primary raw materials, making them an important part of the Resource Revolution. Recycling has an estimated 50-60% market share and an ever growing relevance in a world where resource productivity must increase in order to ensure sustainable development.

The Recycling customer value proposition:

  • Reduces costs
  • Increases revenues
  • Ensures consistent, stable and fast operation
  • Increased access to resources

Mining – Finding mindful solutions

Material handling, product recognition, and pressured air rejection are brought together by TOMRA Sorting Solutions Mining in a robust and tested system, which reliably separates valuable mineral ores from waste rock. TOMRA’s Mining business stream has an estimated 40%-60% market share and is already contributing to more energy-efficient and cost-effective pre-concentrations, as well as to material recovery, in what is still a market in its early youth.

The Mining customer value proposition:

  • Cost savings
  • Environmental benefits

TOMRA’s mission is to create sensor-based solutions for optimal resource productivity, making sustainability profitable – with increased relevance and meaning.

Our vision is to lead the resource revolution within the business streams of reverse vending, material recovery, food, recycling, mining, and specialty products – enabling better utilization of the world’s natural resources. We are using the power of business to do good.

TOMRA is committed to doing business ethically and responsibly. We operate with zero-tolerance for corruption and comply with all applicable laws and regulations in all areas where we do business. As TOMRA continues to expand globally, we recognize the importance of preparing for new challenges that we are likely to meet in our business activities.

TOMRA’s goal is to create sensor-based solutions for optimal resource productivity, making sustainability profitable – with increased relevance and meaning. In parallel, we foster a culture that inspires and motivates our people and customers.

TOMRA aims to lead the resource revolution within the business streams of reverse vending, compaction, recycling, mining, and food – enabling better utilization of the world’s natural resources.

TOMRA recognizes that our operations impact a range of stakeholder groups, including shareholders, employees, suppliers, customers and society at large. To manage this impact, the following principles together with our Code of Conduct and other TOMRA Group policies apply to TOMRA's business practices worldwide:

Stakeholder Value
Value is created for all stakeholder groups through TOMRA's continuing commitment to the improvement of the triple-bottom line, i.e. our social, environmental and economic performance.

Business Conduct
TOMRA is committed to doing business ethically and operates with zero-tolerance for corruption. TOMRA complies with all applicable laws and regulations in all areas where we conduct business and shows respect for foreign cultures and customs.

Human Rights
TOMRA respects internationally recognized human rights principles, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the ILO Core Conventions on Labor Standards, and we strive to ensure that we are not complicit in human rights abuses.

Quality of Life at Work
TOMRA facilitates equal opportunities, safe and healthy working conditions and opportunities for professional and personal development for all employees. TOMRA does not use forced, involuntary or child labor.

TOMRA is committed to offering a fair wage. In general, TOMRA employees are rewarded according to individual accomplishments and through employee bonus and ownership plans across the group.

Integrity and Consistency
TOMRA maintains high standards for social and environmental performance, and irrespective of instances where less stringent national regulations exist, consistently follows these high standards throughout all areas in which it operates.

Long-term Perspective
TOMRA operates with a long-term perspective and considers the needs of tomorrow in its actions today.

Precautionary Principle
TOMRA seeks to minimize any actions that may negatively impact the environment or society, both in the short and long term. To achieve this, TOMRA actively works to acquire the knowledge necessary to resolve uncertainties and reduce risk, thus providing the best possible decision-making platform.

TOMRA embraces the concept of eco-efficiency and actively seeks to reduce the ratio between resource use and emissions on the one hand, and the resulting value that is created. This applies to all processes, products and services.

Ecological Sustainability
TOMRA seeks to optimize the use of recycled or renewable material, and to minimize the content of toxic substances in our products and services.

Product Stewardship
TOMRA assumes responsibility for its products and services throughout their life-cycle — from product design to decommissioning.

Transparent Stakeholder Dialogue
TOMRA keeps an open dialogue with all stakeholder groups, fully reporting its performance record whether positive or negative.

From the beginning, TOMRA Sorting has invested substantially in developing sorting technology geared to the needs of a changing world. Our commitment to serving our customers, while discovering new ways to protect our resources, has never been more important. Join us.

TOMRA Sorting provides more than just a machine off the shelf: our expert engineers in the field of recycling understand the complex nature of processing raw waste and metal material. To ensure that the right solutions are in place to achieve the highest possible recovery and purity rates, TOMRA Sorting representatives work closely with customers and their integrators at the very earliest planning stages. Our industry experience is our customers’ advantage.

Recycling Benefits

Increased Revenue

  • High recovery rates
  • High purity level
  • Consistent quality and performance
  • New business fields
Cost Savings
  • Up to 75% less personnel costs
  • Low operation and maintenance costs
  • Low space requirements
  • Adaptable to sorting tasks
Societal Benefits
  • Less material in landfills
  • Less mining of primary resources
  • Less environmental pollution

As well as being a member of the UN Global Compact, TOMRA also reports to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). While no complete list is maintained and updated, TOMRA has been or is a member of DJSI Stoxx, DJSI World, Natur Aktie-Index (NAX), Portfolio 21, FTSE4Good, Storebrand ‘Best in Class’ index, Kempen/SNS SRI Index, and the Nordic Sustainability Index. In 2012, TOMRA was also listed as one of the world's 100 most sustainable organizations by the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World.

TOMRA is certified to the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. Our certified quality and environment management system applies to the company's operations in Norway (head office functions, R&D and manufacturing units). 100% of TOMRA's R&D and in-house manufacturing units within the Collection Solutions business area is certified to ISO 9001:2008 (since 1994) and ISO 14001:2004 (since 1999).

Collection Solutions
TOMRA Collection Solutions spearheads effective and efficient handling of valuable materials.

With over 75,000 systems installed across more than forty markets, we know that customers and stakeholders recognize and appreciate TOMRA’s position as the worldwide expert in reverse vending. Every year TOMRA facilitates the collection of close to 35 billion empty drinking cans and bottles.

Our Material Recovery business includes the pick-up, transportation, and processing of used beverage containers in North America, as well as the subsequent brokerage of the processed material to recyclers. Currently, TOMRA Material Recovery processes over 340,000 metric tons of beverage containers annually.

Sorting Solutions

As a technology leader TOMRA Sorting Solutions continues to be a pioneer in sensor-based sorting in the food, recycling, mining and other industries.

With more than 110 years of combined sorting and industry experience, and over 10,500 units installed in more than 80 countries, our expertise allows us to deliver high-performance sorting and analytical solutions to our customers.

By realizing synergies in technologies across business streams TOMRA Sorting’s ability to bring sorting and analytics to new segments, markets and applications has been greatly enhanced. We are better positioned to respond to customer and industry challenges faster than before offering the best value products.      

Through TOMRA Sorting’s established expertise in bringing sorting to new segments in food, recycling and mining with key industry players; we leverage this combined expertise to bring our customers innovative solutions meeting their needs.

Being part of the TOMRA Sorting family allows us to expand our global reach. As a result of increased local presence we can provide better sales and service offering, as well as an expanded support capability ensuring we maintain the high performance and availability of our solutions.  

The combined companies of TOMRA Sorting have enhanced financial strength ensuring we are a long-term partner for the future.  In addition to increased investments in R&D keeping us ahead with technological innovations, we can also invest globally to enter markets and new segments more efficiently and have the resources to manage large and complex projects.