Envirobank's Reverse Vending Machines


We’ve talked about reverse vending machines and incentive based recycling in the past. Now it's coming to Australia in the guise of Envirobank. The machines will accept plastics 1 (PET), 2 (HDPE) and 3 (PVC) along with brown, clear and green glass and aluminium cans. In return for your deposit you will be credited points, which can be used to buy green goods from an online Envirostore. Embryonic at this stage with sites for the machines still being determined we do know they have turned up in Macro Wholefoods (who are currently promoting Fair Trade Fortnight). What isn’t so clear just yet is the exact type of purchases you’ll be eligible to make with your credits. And while we applaud any move that encourages the reduction of raw materials extraction, such as recycling does, we wonder just how successful such a venture is likely to be given the already high level of convenient municipal kerbside recycling in Australia. But maybe the added incentive of getting a financial reward for recycling will spur on Australians to higher rates of resource recovery. As may the concept that they will also be supporting causes like Steve Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors foundation. ::Envirobank.Not that this is a new idea for DownUnder. RMIT’s Centre for Design was, in the mid 90’s, consulting to a company developing this technology, as part of their original EcoReDesign program. The prototype reverse vending machine was known as Swap Shop.

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