May 13, 2010

Reverse Vending

With the goal of boosting the nation's beverage-container recycling rate by nearly 50 percent in the coming years, PepsiCo and Waste Management have launched a multi-year partnership to bring reverse vending machines to the masses.

The Dream Machines program will bring as many as 3,000 recycling machines to high-traffic areas, where individuals can recycle their cans and bottles and earn reward points or donate cash to charities.

The machine itself is like a vending machine in reverse. A video screen plays advertising and informational videos, which are updated wirelessly and tailored to each site. A consumer first touches the screen and follows instructions, either to swipe a key fob to track rewards points or to defer registration for later, if at all.

Next the user scans the product barcode, and places the plastic or aluminum bottle (no glass yet) in the proper chute. The machine then spits out a receipt with reward points good for travel or movie tickets, or other benefits, such as coupons for Pepsi products.

The bin does not crush containers, as the sponsors' research says consumers don't like the noise. Each kiosk can hold about 300 bottles or cans. [...] The person responsible for emptying the machine gets an alert via email when the machine is nearly full. The recyclables are picked up by Waste Management.

I think the concept is good, I used to use a machine like this when I lived in South East Michigan, but the 300 bottle/can capacity can be problematic.



  1. Yeah, that is a low volume for what could be a high return rate. Incentivizing the bottles will bring in more and more empties. I know that I collect the caps from Coke products because of their rewards programs and I know I am not alone in that.

    At least it is a sign that the powers that be are doing more in regards to the environment and pollution.

  2. I don't mind the crushing sound, it's the glass bottle return machine that makes me cringe, hearing the bottles crash inside.

  3. 300 bottles or cans sounds a little small to me, given that the machines are in "high traffic" areas, but still, it's a start.

  4. This would help alleviate the green guilt I feel every time I just toss my plastic bottles in the trash. :/

  5. If one gets put in my neck of the woods... I'll give it a try. Sounds like a good idea.

  6. Maybe then can program the crush time to 2am. Nice idea.

  7. That's a great idea, and I think I remember seeing such machines...was it in Michigan?

    Nothing wrong with incentivizing people to recycle. Whatever works!


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