Reverse Vending Machine Rewards You for Recycling On the Go

reverse vending machine

The Dream Machine is a computerized recycling container that allows consumers to recycle bottles and cans in the machine and collect and redeem points as part of a reward system for their effort.

Ever had an empty aluminum can or a plastic bottles while on the go? (We know you’re nodding your head.) There may be an easier solution than toting it home to your recycling bin.

The Dream Machine is a new reverse vending machine manufactured by Green-Ops that provides access to on-the-go recycling. An added bonus: Each container recycled will earn you prizes.

Consumers can drop off PET plastic bottles or aluminum cans and receive points redeemable at either the host venue or, an interactive community provided by Waste Management that promotes recycling and rewards recyclers.

“We know that convenience is key for consumers when recycling and this program focuses on the hardest to get containers – those consumed on the go,” says Wes Muir, director of communications at Waste Management. “Several thousand Dream Machines will be rolled out this year across the country.”

The goal of the kiosks is to recycle at least 400 million containers annually once the machines are more readily available, and each kiosk can hold about 300 cans before it needs to be emptied.

Currently, these machines can only be found in 150 North Carolina Rite Aid stores, but there will be up to 3,000 scattered around Southern California by this summer. Waste Management is also partnering with Keep America Beautiful to find ideal spots throughout its 600 local affiliates.

For those concerned about the conflict with state bottle bills, which offers a refund for recycling any containers, keep in mind that only 11 states currently offer this program and the Dream Machines are being targeted in areas where consumers typically wouldn’t have access to recycling.

The kiosks can also address concerns of contamination, as many are equipped with a tracking system that can scan the packaging to know what product is being recycled.

Read More
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Feature image courtesy of Oscar F. Hevia

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Trey Granger
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  1. There is really nothing new about these machines. I have been using them for years. You will find one or more in every german supermarket and even at a lot of gas stations.

  2. When I lived in Michigan we used similar machines for our container deposit program. You put in your bottles or cans and the machine printed out a receipt that you took to the cashier to redeem. I’d much rather do that than manage some rewards program online.

  3. Good morning all! I really want to know if anyone knows a way for me to get in contact with the company whom issues the machines. I work for the Recycling Division at Morgan State University and we are desperately trying to get our campus on a higher level of “Green”. If anyone has any information please email me at or post a comment. Thanks so much!

  4. Hello. We are doing project citezin and our groups idea is a green machine or golden goat recycling and would like one at our school for the public. we are wandering how much money our school would need to fundraise to get a dream machine.

  5. Gus, they aren’t cheap, it may be a better use of resources (natural and financial) to set up recycling bins and/or collection points at your school. Remember that once you buy it, it still has to be serviced.

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