Sunday, April 25, 2010

Is Anyone Dreaming About This?

Mom was so caught up with all the excitement over Puglet's video on Earth Day that she didn't even notice PepsiCo's new Dream Machine. Or maybe it was a dream that she missed it.

On Earth Day, PepsiCo announced a multi-year partnership in support of the Dream Machine recycling initiative designed around PepsiCo’s goal of increasing the U.S. beverage container recycling rate from 34 percent to 50 percent by 2018. Dream Machine kiosks are computerized receptacles that include a personal reward system that allows consumers to collect and redeem points for each bottle or can they recycle in the kiosk.

Mom didn't know it but PepsiCo leads the industry by incorporating 10% recycled plastic their soft drink containers in the U.S. That's all? 10%? It's hard to believe that 10% leads the industry, isn't it? You would think that a company that creates so many plastic containers would use more than 10% recycled plastic. These statistics beg the question, what happens to the other 90%? I'm thinking it's a cost issue because clearly there's lots of recycled plastic out there that could be used. All of this brings up the issue of corporate product stewardship and the cradle to cradle model. These are hot topics these day and I'll be talking about them in the weeks to come.

Back to plastics recycling. According to PepsiCo, less than 1/3 of all plastic beverage containers are currently being recycled with only 12% of public spaces equipped with recycling receptacles. Both figures aren't surprising but are sad. Convenience is definitely a key when it comes to recycling and like I've said before, there's no reason not to recycle plastic bottles. If you have an empty bottle when you're out but can't find a recycling receptacle, please hold onto it until you get home.

PepsiCo saw the need for more reycling receptacles and the Dream Machine was born. The Dream Machines will be provided by GreenOps, LLC, which is a subsidiary of Waste Management, the largest recycler in North America. Greenopolis, a division of Waste Management, will operate the Dream Machines by providing the first ever interactive recycling system that brings together online and on street technologies and rewards people for recycling their plastic beverage containers in the machines.

Several thousand Dream Machines will be introduced in popular public venues such as gas stations, stadiums, and public park in the weeks and months to come. Rite Aid is also set to be one of the first national retailers to place them in their outlets, with 150 kiosks to be placed in their North Carolina locations. Keep America Beautiful (KAB) has also entered into a partnership with PepsiCo and 600 local KAB affiliate organizations will be involved to encourage community involvement in recycling.

According to Jeremy Page, Head of the Dream Machine recycling initiative at PepsiCo “It takes only a small change in behavior to make a big difference for our planet. If every household in the U.S. recycled just three more plastic bottles a month, we could divert more than 23 million pounds of plastic from our landfills each month and increase the amount of recycled plastic used to manufacture new bottles." Holy smokes! 23 million pounds is a lot of plastic. And to think it only takes three additional bottles per household each month.

But why is the Dream Machine called the Dream Machine? How does it fulfill dreams? PepsiCo has a great interactive site that explains all the dreams - for the planet, for veterans with disabilities, and for you.

The dreams for the planet concept is that all bottles are collected and recycled at the local level. This is a great thing because this cuts down on the carbon footprint of the recycled plastic.

The dream for veterans with disabilities concept is a program called Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans which is a national program that offers free, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with disabilities. How cool is that?

The dreams for me concept is that recyclers collect points that can be redeemed online for discounts and rewards at These discounts and rewards can be used on entertainment, dining, travel, and personal services from names such as Marriott, Domino's Pizza, Blockbuster and more. You can also earn points by sharing experiences and ideas about recycling and reuse at If you aren't interested in discounts and rewards for yourself, you can donate your points to charities.

There's buzz on the Internet that the energy it takes to build and then run the kiosks is negating any positive impact all the recycling will have on the planet. I'm not sure if this is true and I haven't found any statistics to prove it yet. You may also hear the term greenwashing mentioned when discussing the kiosks. PepsiCo is in the money making business and while there's no doubting the machines intended purpose is to drive consumers to purchase and drink more Pepsi products, my thinking is that anything that raises awareness about recycling and gets people recycling more is a good thing.

Check out this short 2 1/2 minute video on how the Dream Machine works. My only concern about the how it works is that they show bottles being inserted into the machine with the caps on. The machines will accept #1 and #2 bottles, but most caps are made from a different plastic, #5. I know that many companies have changed their caps, but I'm not sure which type of plastic the new caps are made of. I'll be looking into the issue this week.

I'm not advocating drinking Pepsi products. Mom used to be a Pepsiholic but recently gave up it. What I am advocating is recycling plastic, so enjoy the video and get excited about recycling!


Winston (smilingpug) said...

Wow Stubby this is great news. This should encourage people to keep them out of the landfill.

Here in Canada all drinking containers have a deposit charge added to them at the cash desk when purchased. If it is under 1 litre it is a nickel if it is over a litre I believe it is 20 cents. This applies to each container. So a six pack of Coke cans would be an extra 35 cents. But..... what happens is consumers take the cans to recycling depots and get that money back once the cans are turned in for recycling.

For people that can't be bothered to return them, they will donate toward kids when they have a bottle drive for fundraising (bottle drives are really popular here!) or the homeless people go around collecting them from around the city. This keeps most containers out of the landfill and encourages people to recycle them. The only containers that don't have the extra charge applied to them are milk containers or milk alternatives ie: soy products.

It is very unusual to find a drinking container in the garbage or on the ground here in Canada..... If you do see one, guaranteed it won't be there long as a homeless person will snatch it up to get the deposit back.

THE PUGLET said...

We're on the same plan as Winston here in SF. On garbage day we put all our money-back recyclables in a basket for the homeless people to take.

My human drinks like a fish, so before we switched to a Britta filter, we used to put out a TON of plastic water bottles each week. One of our neighborhood homeless guys was really bummed and complained to my human about it. He said he could always could on us for a few bucks worth of bottles!

Those Elgin Pugs said...

Hey There Stubbo!

So like what would happen if I stuff Anakin in one of 'dem machines!
I mean, it is called a dream machine and it would be my dream to rid this house of ksfkzkzknhdf....ouch...dfkslh.i.dksknj....hey..........

gotta go....


Yoda & Brutus said...

If it raises awareness about recycling - then it is good.

Mom wanted to tell you that when her and dad were leaving Target yesterday, they saw recycling stations set up at the front of the store - The recycling stations will accept aluminum, glass and plastic beverage containers, plastic bags, MP3 players, cell phones and ink cartridges.

How cool is that! Mom found an article about and evidently Target has implemented this in all of their stores!!! Here is a link to the article -

Pugs & Kisses,

Yoda & Brutus

DexterSeibe2178 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Apollo said...

This is really neat! Thanks so much for sharing! My Mommy shared this with her whole dept at IU's Environmental, Health, and Safety Office. We think something like this in Bloomington would definately get more of those college students recycling!

Anonymous said...

That is really cool.
It makes me wonder though, all your numbers are american, right? I wonder what the canadian numebers are.... :)

Pearl said...

This is so cool, Stubby! Thanks for letting me know about it! xoxo

Stella, Gunther and Betty said...

Hey Stubby, cool machine! The parents don't drink sodas in this house either. But the recycling plastic thing is really cool!

Stella, Gunther and Betty

Dana Orsborn said...

Hi Stubby!

I hope you had a great Earth Day!
This is a great post! You always
find great things to share with

I hope you have a great week!


Stubby said...

Hi Winston! That's great that all drinking containers deposits on them in Canada. Only glass has a deposit here but mabye some day we will catch up to Canada. I'm all for giving the containers to school kids or the homeless as long as the containers stay out of landfills.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Puglet! That's so cool that you give all your money-back recyclables to the homeless. You are not only helping the planet but also helping people in need.

I'm so glad you switched to a Brita filter but I have to ask - is the water in SF that bad? Maybe there's no need to filter already perfectly good water.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Crazy Izzy! It's obvious that you cannot read. The machine is for plastic bottles only, no pugs. Anakin wouldn't fit anyway, but that's not the point. I hate to break it to you but he's not going anywhere. You on the other hand, are headed straight for the crazy house!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Yoda & Brutus! That's so cool that your parents saw the recycling stations at Target. Mom tweeted about them a couple of weeks ago and I told her I want to do a post about it but we got caught up with other things. Thanks for reminding me about them. I hope lots of people use them and that other retailers start offering this service.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Apollo! I always get excited when you tell me that something that little ole' me has posted gets send to some important people at IU. I think college campuses are the perfect places for the Dream Machine and I hope IU gets one really soon.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Lex! Yes, all my numbers were for the U.S. and I have no idea what the Canadian numbers are. Do you think they are higher than the U.S.? If you find out please let me know because I'm curious too!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Pearly Poo! I know you don't drink Pepsi stuff but I bet your momma does. Tell her that if she sees a Dream Machine around town, to take a picture of it in action.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Stella, Gunther & Betty! That's great that your parents don't drink soda because it's bad for them. They don't drink bottled water either, right? So they have no use for the Dream Machine but they can spread the message about it.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Dana! It's good to hear from you. I did have a great Earth Day and I hope you did too. I got a big surprise on Earth Day that I've yet to share with everyone so look for it soon.

Stubby xoxo