By Jen Maldonado
Rider is taking another step in the green direction with the introduction of the Dream Machine kiosk, a computerized, interactive recycling receptacle that will reward those who choose to recycle a bottle or can.
The Dream Machine recycling program, created by PepsiCo Inc. in collaboration with Waste Management, is installing two machines today. One will be in the Student Recreation Center (SRC) on the Lawrenceville campus and the other in the Student Center on the Westminster campus, according to Jill Shockley, director of Internal Operations.
“We are so pleased that Rider University has partnered with the Dream Machine program to make Dream Machines available to students and faculty,” said Jeremy Cage, senior vice president and head of Dream Machine Recycling Initiative, PepsiCo Inc. “Those who recycle in a Dream Machine can help make a real difference for our planet.”
The Dream Machines, which are included in Rider’s contract with PepsiCo Inc., include a personal reward system, powered by Greenopolis, that allows people who insert recyclable items to earn points every time they use the machine. Students and faculty will receive a card that they will have to register at greenopolis.com. When they approach the machine, they will swipe the card and then put in their cans and bottles. The recyclers will get five points for every container recycled and once they have accumulated 100 points, they can start redeeming their rewards, which include coupons for restaurants and hotels in their local area.
“It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved because we’re promoting recycling and people who recycle are getting something out of it, so it’s worth your while,” Shockley said.
Melissa Greenberg, Rider’s sustainability manager, agrees and thinks that this reward system “takes recycling to a whole new level.”
“My hope is that the incentives help change the mindset of someone who doesn’t recycle,” Greenberg said. “With the Dream Machine, I hope new habits are formed.”
Not only does the Dream Machine benefit recyclers, but it also contributes to a greater cause. The more items people recycle in the machine, the more support Pepsi will provide to the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV). The EBV is “a national program that offers free experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post 9/11 veterans with disabilities,” according to a fact sheet sent to the university from PepsiCo Inc. For every 10 million pounds of materials collected, PepsiCo Inc. will donate an additional $250,000 to the $500,000 per year they already have committed to donating to the program.
“I think it’s a great idea that the machine is not only helping make Rider a greener campus, but it is benefiting disabled veterans at the same time,” said sophomore Danielle Trautwein. “If the points you can earn aren’t enough of a motivating factor for students to use the machine, then this cause will definitely get students interested.”
Currently, less than one-third of plastic beverage containers are recycled each year and only 12 percent of public spaces are equipped with recycling receptacles, according to a PepsiCo Inc. fact sheet.
Shockley feels the location of the Dream Machine in the SRC will make recycling “super easy” for students since the gym is in the same building and people often bring bottled water with them to their workouts.
“This should give those who don’t recycle the extra push to start recycling,” Shockley said.
Introduced on Earth Day in 2010, the Dream Machine recycling initiative is aiming to make thousands of recycling kiosks and bins more available in popular public areas, including parks, stadiums and universities. Since its big launch two years ago, there are approximately 4,000 kiosks and bins in 40 states, and more machines are scheduled to come in 2012.
“I am excited that this new, high-tech way to recycle is coming to Rider,” Greenberg said. “Sustainability initiatives aren’t always so visible or as fun as the Dream Machine. I hope it’s successful in collecting bottles for recycling and creating new habits in its users.”