Recently, Pepsi unveiled a new product (or maybe it’s a service?): the Pepsi Dream Machine. This “reverse” vending machine accepts empty bottles and cans in exchange for reward points that can be redeemed for cool stuff such as Pepsi branded items (of course), restaurant gift cards, movie tickets and more at Greenopolis.com. Never heard of Greenopolis? It’s a site sponsored by Waste Management that tracks the recycling efforts of Waste Management’s own recycling kiosks as well as the Dream Machines they partner with Pepsi on. I love the idea of providing a perk for people to recycle (this has been happening for years in states with bottle deposits and Europe is also already way ahead of us with recycling machines that spit out cash in return), and I do think that a machine like this may provide just enough incentive to encourage some people who are not regular recyclers to get in the recycling habit, which will hopefully endure even if a Dream Machine is not nearby. There are some concerns about the energy consumed manufacturing and running these machines (is the value of the recycling they promote larger than the amount of energy consumed?), so I’d like to see some data on that, but overall I think that part of the benefit derived from the machines is not just due the recycled materials, but also because of the public awareness that a giant company like Pepsi can bring to the importance of recycling.
Read more on the Pepsi Dream Machine Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/dreammachine