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Reverse Vending Machines Give Customers Money

Picture this: You buy a soda from a vending machine, chug it down, put the empty bottle into the next vending machine, and get some of your money back. Is that a great deal or what? And it may be coming soon to a store near you. An up-and-coming part of the vending machines business world, these reverse vending machines (RVM’s) are already popular in other countries and are making their entrance in the U.S. as well.

What RVM’s Do

RVM’s may accept bottles made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate), a recyclable plastic, aluminum cans, or both. The consumer puts the bottle or can in a receiving slot, and the machine uses video technology or barcode scanning to identify the item.  Then the machine sorts the item, crushes it down, and dispenses payment. Depending on the machine, it may pay in cash or by adding points to a card. If what you put in is not recyclable, the machines are capable of rejecting such items, so don’t try to dispose all of your trash in the machine, because it will just be spit back out at you. When the machine fills up, vending machine service comes by and empties the machine, taking its contents to the appropriate recycling center.

The Benefits of RVM’s

Money is motivating, so with RVM’s more people are likely to recycle their bottles and cans. Also adding to the numbers of users will be the convenience of the machines – no need to keep piling up your home recycling bin. Increased recycling will reduce the amount of waste dumped into landfills. Additionally, keeping PET bottles separated from other plastics ultimately keep the entire recycling process more efficient.

This kind of vending machines business will also avoid some pitfalls of typical recycling businesses. For example, sometimes people will try to cheat a recycling weighing system by filling bottles with debris. These machines can recognize the extra weight and reject such bottles, simplifying the work required of the vending machine service.

New RVM’s in the USA

At least one vending machines business is installing RVM’s in the United States. The Dream Machine from GreenOps identifies containers by scanning barcodes, and it pays through points redeemable at the machine’s host site or online. There are 150 Dream Machines at North Carolina Rite Aid stores, and vending machine service should be installing 3,000 in Southern California before the summer is out. Keep a lookout as they continue to spread, and you’ll soon be getting paid to recycle your own drink containers.