Single use plastics
Single Use Plastics are used in the vending industry principally for the following reasons:
- Single-use cups in our industry are technical packaging designed specifically for the use in vending machines.
2.5 million machines supply hot drinks in Europe, 63% of the total base installed in Europe. Among these machines over half (in some countries e.g. Italy up to 90%) are fully automatic machines where the cup is dispensed automatically with the final drink. These cups must comply with very specific technical characteristics such as weight, stacking ability, upper and lower diameter, height of the rim and of the cup, which guarantee the reliability of the supply mechanism in addition to the high temperature resistance of the hot drinks dispensed. Cups containing at least some plastic fulfill the requirements to avoid unreliable dispensing and blockages in machines. This means cups used in vending are different in technical design and in use when compared to the cups used in typical high street coffee shops. Suitable alternatives are simply not yet available on the market.
- Single-use cups in our industry guarantee the hygiene and safety of the vending service.
Vending cups are stored inside the machine in a specific container/dispenser and are not subject to contamination. Disposable cups have been tested for proper use with the dispensed beverage (in terms of drink quantity, temperature suitability, comfort when drinking). Essentially disposable cups can hold a hot drink safely without posing a risk to the consumer.
The vending operator who runs the machines can guarantee the food hygiene and food safety whereas this would not be the case if the consumer had to bring his/her own cup.
With the vast majority of vending machines placed in workplaces such as offices, a single use beverage cup is typically consumed beside the machine and collected within the building. Recycling of vending cups therefore takes place through the normal waste collection stream of the building. The RiVending project in Italy (expanding to other European countries) enables the collection and recycling process for vending cups to be much more streamlined, leading to an eventual real circular economy for cups in our industry.
The EVA supports appropriate measures to reduce the negative impact on the environment that unnecessarily discarded plastic waste can bring. However, the EU Single Use Plastics Directive must be proportionately and adequately implemented on national level in order to bring fair and effective change.
The EVA is a founding Member of the EU Platform for action on diet, physical activity and health, which is a forum for organisations, ranging from the food industry to consumer protection NGOs, who are willing to commit to tackling current trends in diet and physical activity. The aim of the platform is to provide an example of coordinated action to these trends by different parts of society that will encourage national, regional or local initiatives across Europe.
As part of our work in the Platform, the EVA has published a report documenting initiatives, guidelines, bans and best practices for vending operators across the EU. The report aims to inform 1) European Vending Operators, and 2) the EU Platform members and policy stakeholders of which countries and regions encourage vending operators to place healthier products, and similarly outlines locations where vending machines are not permitted or have restrictions placed on the food provision. The overall objective is to ensure operators are as informed as possible on what products can or should be offered in which environments, and can provide a helpful basis to encourage more and more ‘healthier’ products appearing in European vending machines.
The report can be downloaded here: Initiatives to encourage a wider choice products in vending machines
The EVA promotes healthier vending initiatives supporting a balanced diet and therefore does not support arbitrary vending machine bans. The EVA calls on national member states and institutions to work with relevant vending associations, or vending operators directly, in order to promote a wider choice of nutritious products in machines.
Quality & Hygiene
The secret behind a great vending experience is an excellent product, a perfect machine and optimum maintenance/cleaning. In a highly competitive environment with demanding consumers, the vending industry must offer a great vending experience every time.
The EVA publishes documentation informing vending operators on topics such as good Hygiene Practices and Pest Management, and these are available for our Members.
The EVA believes that the vending industry must continue to play its part to become more sustainable. This is why vending machines are today now much more energy efficient, and the industry is currently transitioning to using fully natural or low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants.