NAUGATUCK, CT -- Environmental Products Corp. (Envipco) has filed a complaint against Norway's Tomra Systems ASA and its Tomra North America Inc. subsidiary for what it claims are "anticompetitive, unfair and deceptive practices" that violate federal antitrust laws and state unfair trade practice acts.
Both Tomra North America and Envipco manufacture and operate reverse vending machines for the recovery and recycling of post consumer beverage containers. Tomra of North America partnered with industry consultancy Vending Innovations LLC a year and a half ago to expand its penetration of reverse vending machines into such nontraditional channels as colleges, hospitals, transportation venues, entertainment facilities, sports arenas and business and industry.
Its latest model, the compact T63 TriSort, unveiled last summer, is designed to serve small grocers, convenience stores, liquor stores and other retailers with limited floor space. [see story]
In the complaint, filed last week in the federal court of the District of Connecticut, Envipco, a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Envipco Holding NV, challenges, among other things, Tomra's use of exclusive contracts and the early renewal of its contracts to lock out competition from other reverse vending machine providers.
The complaint seeks to enjoin Tomra from continuing the alleged anticompetitive practices, as well as compensatory, punitive and treble damages (three times the amount of actual financial losses).
According to Envipco, Tomra engaged in similar conduct in the European Union, was found guilty of violating its antitrust laws and recently lost its appeal of that decision.
"We encourage fair competition, which we believe brings innovation and provides a wider choice at competitive prices," said Envipco chief executive Gool Santchurn. "In the coming months, we will be launching a number of technologically advanced platforms for the collection of beverage containers, which we believe will benefit the industry and reinforces the importance of an open marketplace."