The drink/food vending machines could be a channel for the rental system. The number of containers in the vending machines would be determined by how much food/drinks to serve from the machine. Consumers could get food/drinks and reusable containers from the vending machines and return back to any rental machines. The combination of drink/food vending machines and rental machines might be possible but it would take a larger space for operating. As the permitted operating area might be limited and the available space for machines might be depended - smaller near train stations but larger near city parks - on the locations, the combination of machines might prevent the system from operating at scale and might make it not so easier for consumers to get them. However, I think that drink/food vending machines could be a good channel for the system. Thank you for your suggestion.
Agreed that it would be more convenient for users if the reusable containers are placed in shops. To improve the efficiency of the processes, the merchants could have access to the system by registering as a business. They could get containers from the nearest machine and provide them to customers who choose to use the system. Users could know if there are any containers available in shops from the website/app. The status of the container would be displayed as 'rented out' in the system once the user passes their QR code/ barcode over the scanner. As the value has been added to the account, consumers could also choose to pay the takeaway food with their prepaid account. Revenue reconciliation with each party would be performed automatically daily or weekly. Thanks to the ongoing evolution in the payments industry, collaboration with financial institutions would increase the scale of the system and bring more convenience to users as well.
As the characteristics and nature of liquids are different, a PH sensor could be applied to tell a clean pot and a pot to be washed. All of pots would be washed after returning back. If a clean pot is returned, the PH value would be align with a setup value. But if a pot returns back without washing, the PH value would be different with the setup value. To save water, only water for washing clean pots would be preserved for the next wash. In addition to PH sensor, a color sensor may also be applied to know if the pot is clean or not. Regarding the issue of how the pot be returned if the machine is full, a warning mechanism could be built for the situation. If a machine reaches 80% to 90% full, the management team would be informed by the warning system. The further action for relocating containers could be executed before the machine's full.