University Reverse Vending Machine Project

PRC is working with five universities across the country to improve recycling rates and incentivize recycling to students! In states without container deposit laws (otherwise known as Bottle Bills), PRC is reaching out to portions of the population that would not otherwise recycle.

This program installs Reverse Vending Machines, which accept recyclable materials like bottles and cans. As students recycle their materials, they are entered to win rewards, prizes, and more! As more students recycle, more valuable materials will be kept of out landfills and in circulation!

The Project

According to the Container Recycling Institute, the recycling rate for aluminum beverage cans is around 30% in states with no Bottle Bills, as opposed to 70% in states with Bottle Bills. Bottle Bills offer monetary incentives for recycling, typically offering residents 5 to 10 cents for every bottle or can recycled. PRC’s University Project works to increase recycling rates on college campuses in non-bottle bill states by bringing the reward element of the Bottle Bill program to these universities to drive up recycling rates.

In partnership with Tomra and Alcoa Foundation, PRC is working with universities from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA to the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, IN to install Reverse Vending Machines on campuses. These machines accept recyclable materials like bottles and cans. As students use these machines to recycle, the RVM will display their recycling activity and positive impact in addition to entering them to win prizes and rewards on campus and with local businesses!

The University Reverse Vending Machine project also looks to engage student groups to spread the word about the benefits and importance of recycling. PRC is working with student groups to be “boots on the ground” for this project, advertising for the program and gaining valuable waste and recycling experience.