New York grocer touts the benefits of automated bottle/can return system

TOMRA Reverse Vending provides solution

Key Food Store owner Ruben Luna in many ways personifies the American Dream. From a humble start, his business has grown through the years so that he is now the owner of nine Key Food stores in Manhattan and Queens, New York. With such success, has come added responsibilities, including figuring out the best way to deal with the challenges of recycling voluminous amounts of redeemable bottles and cans. After looking at various companies, he decided that TOMRA, a leading manufacturer of Reverse Vending Solutions (RVMs) for collecting, reusing and recycling cans and bottles, had the ideal solution for him.

Ruben has been using TOMRA machines for over 20 years. “It’s very simple,” he said. “They provide the very best service and the latest in technology. My sales rep John Scalfani has become a trusted and true friend. Anything I need, he is right there and if it involves tech support, he makes sure I get that as well. That sort of personal touch is not common in today’s world.” He added, “Before TOMRA, it was a gigantic mess trying to deal with bottle and can returns. They were everywhere. With the T-53 machines, including RapidRedeem, I’m all set. They pick up, customers get paid, and I make money every month on the machines.

As an example, he cited his store at Saint Nicholas and 172nd Street in Washington Heights. “Just there alone, they’re returning on average 30 to 50,000 containers a month, which translates to 2 to 3 thousand dollars a month for just that store.”

He also pointed out an additional factor. “Because of TOMRA machines, you can hardly find a bottle or can on the streets outside my stores today. People pick them up and return them. It makes them money and it makes our streets much cleaner.”

“Before TOMRA, it was like being on a road where everything was very messy and moved very slowly. With TOMRA, it’s like I’m on a superhighway. The returns and profits happen rapidly and it’s clean and efficient.” Ruben has plans to introduce TOMRA machines into the Caribbean region, starting with his native Dominican Republic as well as South America.

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