Remember how vending machines made getting drinks and snacks way easier? Envirobank is hoping the same happens to recycling with their "cash for cans" reverse vending machines.
Vending machines always worked the same way: we fed it money, it dropped down stuff. Envirobank's new devices turn the process around, taking in recyclables in exchange for discount coupons to nearby stores. Instead of chucking your water bottles and softdrink cans the moment you're done with them, the reverse vending machines can serve as an alternate destination, giving you a small token for your troubles and, hopefully, making you feel better about doing your part to reduce growing landfills all over the world.
Each Envirobank reverse vending machine can take up to 3,000 containers (deployed to a busy mall, I bet one machine can top out in an hour) and accept various types of recyclables, including PET bottles, green glass and aluminum cans. Each deposited container is prepared directly for shipment to recycling depots, eliminating the need for first-level waste processing facilities.
Envirobank is fitting each machine with an LCD screen, intended to coax advertisers into pimping their wares to a targeted group of environment-conscious consumers (at the least, ones who are pretending to be). They've already rolled out test boxes in their native Australia. If advertisers support it (and with green ideas taking greater prominence in the mainstream media), I can't imagine this technology being passed over anywhere.