Pepsi's Dream Machine Aims to Make Recycling a Slam Dunk

Pepsi's Dream Machine Aims to Make Recycling a Slam Dunk

With the goal of boosting the nation's beverage-container recycling rate by nearly 50 percent in the coming years, PepsiCo and Waste Management have launched a multi-year partnership to bring reverse vending machines to the masses.

The Dream Machines program will bring as many as 3,000 recycling machines to high-traffic areas, where individuals can recycle their cans and bottles and earn reward points or donate cash to charities.

In launching the partnership, the companies have set a goal of increasing the amount of bottles and cans that get recycled by a significant amount: With only 34 percent of non-alcoholic bottles and 25 percent of PET plastic bottles recycled annually, Pepsi and Waste Management aim to boost that number to 50 percent through increased recycling at reverse vending machines like the Dream Machines.

dream machineHere's how the system works, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal:

The machine itself is like a vending machine in reverse. A video screen plays advertising and informational videos, which are updated wirelessly and tailored to each site. A consumer first touches the screen and follows instructions, either to swipe a key fob to track rewards points or to defer registration for later, if at all.

Next the user scans the product barcode, and places the plastic or aluminum bottle (no glass yet) in the proper chute. The machine then spits out a receipt with reward points good for travel or movie tickets, or other benefits, such as coupons for Pepsi products.

The bin does not crush containers, as the sponsors' research says consumers don't like the noise. Each kiosk can hold about 300 bottles or cans. [...] The person responsible for emptying the machine gets an alert via email when the machine is nearly full. The recyclables are picked up by Waste Management.

For more details about the Dream Machine program, as well as finding a reverse vending machine, visit For more on the benefits of reverse vending machines, read "Beyond the Blue Bin: The Next Generation of Recycling" and "On-Site Recycling Facilities Can Provide a Win-Win-Win."