Expansion for reverse vending machine effort

Expansion for reverse vending machine effort

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

April 23, 2014

A collegiate recycling venture headquartered in Massachusetts is spreading its wings and coming to Indiana.

The University of Southern Indiana will be the ninth college campus to feature Greenbean Recycle's reverse-vending machines and the first outside of the state of Massachusetts.  The venture was supported by the Alcoa Foundation and the Pennsylvania Resources Council.

The machines offer prizes and special digital cash incentives to students for returned glass, plastic or aluminum containers. Awards and gift cards are given away through company sponsorships with a wide array of companies, such as Zipcar and Barnes and Noble, and campuses and students often compete against one another to drive recycling and vie for the prizes.

No paper or physical cash is used in the process, a key, the company says, to its fully digital approach. Students can choose to send monetary winnings to a PayPal account, student ID accounts or donated to charity.

Beverage companies are also being encouraged to join in and contribute to supporting increased recycling of containers nationwide, "to connect brands with customers who are doing something good with their product," CEO Shanker Sahai told Resource Recycling.

Massachusetts has a bottle bill, but Indiana does not and could serve as an important testing ground for the incentive-offering technology.

"Our big goal is to be in non-bottle bill states," Sahai said. "In Massachusetts, we've just proven the concept that these machines can survive without a cash register and paper receipt, but ultimately we're building a platform."

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