While recycling is crucial to protecting our planet, it’s not always the most exciting of activities. But Boston-based Greenbean Recycling is trying to change all that by transforming the collection of bottles and cans into a fun and entertaining competition.
The company is piloting a Reverse Vending Machine at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, where students can bring recyclables and deposit them into a machine to be sorted for recycling.
But the company didn’t stop with a newfangled recycling gadget. They’re turning the chasing arrows into a social media sensation on campus by altering the vending machine to calculate points for every item recycled.
When students toss their recyclables into the machine, they type their phone number on a touch screen. A bar-code reader inside counts the number of cans, bottles and other recyclables that the student drops off and uploads the data to the Greenbean site.
Students can track their progress online and engage in friendly competition with fellow classmates on a recycling leaderboard. Contests between MIT fraternities have been most successful – with houses competing to claim the top leaderboard spot, Greenbean CEO Shanker Sahai told CNN.
If good ol’ competition isn’t enough, Greenbean is also offering prizes and other rewards to get students recycling. The company has offered free gift cards for top recyclers during a given time period, and Sahai told CNN he envisions giving away Red Sox tickets and other prizes to increase recycling totals.
Greenbean is testing out their competitive recycling model at MIT, but additional locations are in the works. Contact the company to get a Greenbean recycling machine in your community.