- Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh has joined Tomra Systems ASA's Greenbean bottle and can recycling incentive program for U.S. colleges and universities. A student can insert a bottle or can into the reverse vending machines (RVMs) and enter an email address to link to an Internet awards account and either earn points for rewards or donate their points to local charities. In states with bottle deposits, students can have cash transferred to a PayPal account.
- Other participating schools are Harvard University, Brandeis University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Merrimack College, Bentley University, and University of Southern Indiana.
- Tomra, based in Asker, Norway, also launched an upgraded website for Greenbean where students can track and manage their recycling points and rewards. And each university will also receive a new UNO Promo model RVM, which features a 10-inch touch display screen and Internet connectivity.
When Tomra bought Somerville, MA-based Greenbean in September 2014, it integrated the technology into its ReAct platform that's designed to provide rewards and incentives for consumers using RVMs. The Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC), which provided funding for the Carnegie Mellon program, is working with Alcoa to provide grants to colleges in non-deposit states, helping them develop recycling programs for beverage containers.
Innovative vending machines are a trend popping up around the globe. In July 2014, a Turkey-based company called Pugedon devised a vending machine that essentially exchanged recyclables for pet food and water.
Similarly, Incom placed over 400 machines around Beijing in September 2014 to accept plastic bottles. The kiosks are expected to increase the volume of plastic bottles collected in the city — which is an overall expectation and benefit of the RVMs.