High Tech Reverse Vending Machines Gives Bus Tickets in Exchange for Recycling

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A worker in Mumbai goes through a pile of plastic bottles to be recycled. June 5, 2014 Reuters

High tech "reverse" vending machines have been installed in Sydney that lets people deposit recyclable waste like plastic bottles and cans in turn for rewards like bus tickets.

In Australia, every hour, around 15,000 bottles and cans are thrown or littered, instead of being sent for recycling. This accounts to 58 per cent of all recyclable material on a yearly basis. On Dixon Street in Haymarket and Alfred Street in Circular Quay, the City of Sydney is trialling Envirobank "reverse vending machines" to reduce the amount of waste. 

The vending machines can hold about 2,000 bottles before it has to be emptied. This high tech machine offers rewards like two-for-one food truck vouchers, a chance to win tickets to the 2014 New Year's Eve Festivities at Dawes Point or entry to win bus tickets in exchange for the people donating their aluminum, PET and glass bottles. One can also choose to donate ten cents for every container to Clean-Up Australia.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said, These are vending machines with a twist that will encourage Sydneysiders to be even better at recycling plastic bottles and aluminium cans. The machines offer a small reward for people who make the effort to recycle. We're trialling these reverse vending machines and I hope this new idea will capture the attention of our residents and visitors."

The first Envirobank machine in Sydney was in the CBD Metcentre in 2009, and this machine is no longer in operation. Currently, envirobanks are installed in Victoria, Northern Territory and New South Wales in various 7-Eleven outlets. The Lord Mayor hopes that these new machines will demonstrate the feasibility of a national container deposit scheme to increase recycling rates.

"Container deposit schemes significantly increase recycling, reduce waste and protect wildlife and the environment from plastic pollution. We're taking what action we can to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, but will continue to lobby state and federal governments for reform on this issue", explained the Lord Mayor.

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