PepsiCo unveils smart 'Dream Machine' recycling kiosks

Pepsico's Dream Machine is a high-tech recycling kiosk that promises to make it easier for Americans to recycle on the go.

In partnership with Waste Management, PepsiCo on Wednesday night unveiled the "Dream Machine," a high-tech recycling kiosk intended to make it easier for Americans to recycle on the go.

The multi-year partnership is a direct extension of PepsiCo's corporate goal to increase the U.S. beverage container recycling rate from 34 percent to 50 percent by 2018.

The Dream Machine is, in so many words, a computerized recycling bin. A big blue and white behemoth, it's designed to be installed in supermarkets (alongside RedBox and CoinStar kiosks, perhaps) and other places where single-bottle recycling options aren't available.

As a reward for recycling, consumers receive rewards points that can be redeemed.

Further, each bottle or can recycled is cause for PepsiCo to donate funds to the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, a national program that offers free training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with disabilities.

Recycling stats, according to PepsiCo:

  • PepsiCo incorporates 10 percent recycled plastic in its soft drink containers in the U.S.
  • Less than a third of plastic beverage containers are being recycled each year.
  • 12 percent of public spaces are equipped with recycling receptacles.
  • Every ton of plastic bottles recycled saves about 3.8 barrels of oil.
  • If every household in the U.S. recycled just three more plastic bottles, we could divert more than 23 million pounds of plastic from our landfills.

I was present for the launch of the machine, and it's rather easy to use: just push a couple of buttons on a screen, scan a bottle and deposit it in a trap door. The system, which is connected to the Internet, gives you points (and, optionally, a receipt marking your purchase).

The Dream Machine is not intended for bulk recycling, but it's a nice concept to sweep up those one-and-done bottles. PepsiCo's challenge, however: urging stores to host these enormous, power-sucking machines to encourage recycling, rather than just making recycling bins available in stories and other public places.

PepsiCo says thousands of Dream Machines will be rolled out to gas stations, stadiums, public parks and stores such as Rite Aid.

They'll be operated by online community Greenopolis.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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