Innovative recycling: reverse vending machines

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By Linda Ferraro

reverse vending machines

Cans and plastic bottles are dangerous to the environment when they are thrown on roadsides, in bodies of natural water, and on beaches. They pollute our communities and our ecosystem to a great extent. Some cities have adopted an innovative way to fight this problem: reverse vending machines. They are usually placed in well-known and well-populated areas to raise awareness and to reduce waste.

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The idea is simple: reverse vending machines are located in strategic areas of large cities. Users can insert plastic bottles or cans in exchange for a small compensation.

This innovative approach to recycling and cleaning the environment has already been used in several European countries like Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Scotland. The idea is making its way around the world as well. According to, in Australia, a series of reverse vending machines were set up in Sydney in 2014 that offer other incentives such as food truck vouchers and the option to donate 10 cents to charity, in exchange for recycling. More similar initiatives were reported in countries like China and Brazil.

reverse vending machine
Another reverse vending machine.

The vending machines have been a success mainly due to their location, and the fact that they are in areas regularly visited by residents, employees, students, and tourists. The dispensers appear to be very useful for raising awareness, which leads to better waste management and cleaner cities!

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