Recycling has been a dull process for too long. You may toss your plastic bottle in a recycling can helpfully marked with the now-iconic three arrows symbol instead of the neighboring trash can. Or you might take the greater effort of saving your cans and bottles and taking them to a recycling center. Californians pay an extra California Redemption Value (CRV) fee on their recyclable beverage containers, and at the recycling centers they can redeem this fee. Cool way to scrounge for quarters and save the environment at the same time, but honestly, how many college students will have the time to save the bottles and haul them to a recycling center? I am an idealistic treehugger, and even I have to admit the answer is not enough to make the kind of difference we will need to preserve Earth's nonrenewable resources.
But this can all change with the Dream Machine: recycling kiosks of the future. The revolutionary new technology dreamt up by PepsiCo and Waste Management boasts a nifty touchscreen display, a scanner and even a wireless Internet connection — all for the purpose of changing the way we think about recycling. Cal Poly Pomona is the first university in the nation that will be housing the kiosks, and their location right on a college campus makes recycling as easy as returning a book to the library.
The central philosophy of the machines is to motivate people to actively recycle by providing tangible rewards.
To start the process, each person enters a name and other identifying information to receive a rewards card. Subsequently, each recyclable item scanned and deposited in the machine will contribute to points that rack up on the card. These points translate into discounts on the Cal Poly campus or coupons online at Greenopolis.com
, sponsored by Waste Management and brimming with rewards options as well as insightful information on how to develop a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.
The kiosks at Cal Poly became operational this summer, and the goal is to recycle 20,000 bottles by the end of this year. The university will receive no profits from the machines, but PepsiCo will make donations to the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities. It is a win-win situation for everyone — the best position for us to make progress in the green movement!