Earn Cash with Reverse Vending Machines

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reverse vending machines
This RVM in Denmark includes the option to donate redemption funds to charity. Creative Commons License photo credit: Lars Plougmann

Reverse vending machines (RVMs) can usually be seen at grocery stores, where they spit out a little ticket with your printed refund amount after you put in glass bottles or aluminum cans. Afterward you can spend that ticket in the store or exchange it for cash. You can also find these machines at larger, chain stores and redemption centers.

The automated aspect is popular among users of the machine- they are convenient, and the reward you get for recycling is almost instantly gratifying. It’s a very efficient recycling solution. They are so widely used that the PepsiCo Dream Machine, for example, publicized the four millionth item captured through its automated recycling system. Can you imagine if these machines were at even more places, and for more items than mainly bottles and cans?


Schools are great locations for these machines, especially since regular vending machines are available for products such as Pepsi. These machines are a great way to reduce waste and instill a responsible attitude and involvement with recycling, especially if the machine were directly right next to the regular machine. Close the loop! Have you seen how much litter is left in outdoor areas after lunch at some schools? A machine like this, that actually gives you money for cleaning up after yourself, would not only reduce litter, but probably be very popular! What a nice incentive for students, if they could spend money they earned recycling at the school bookstore for example.

There a number of other companies that make these machines around the world. The machines are not noisy, do not use a lot of energy to run, are easy to arrange for installation and maintenance, and are kind of fun to use. If you are a decision maker, consider getting one for your office, shopping center, or school! Here’s a quick list of RVM providers:

Can And Bottle Systems, Inc
Environmental Products Corporation
Reverse Vending Corporation

To motivate events goers to use their newly installed RVMs, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center (an events arena) in Providence, Rhode Island gave prizes away to machine users. It’s a great way to promote recycling with the potential to save the Dunkin’ Donuts Center over $1000 in garbage collecting costs. Not bad at all!

Cash for Electronics

You may soon start seeing a more advanced machine that will spit out money or store credit if you recycle your electronic devices. Imagine bringing in your old mobile phone and getting money for it! The San Diego-based company ecoATM recently received a large amount of additional funding, so be on the lookout for their easy-to-use kiosks popping up near you.

Have you used an RVM? Do you find it a convenient solution for recycling? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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