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A Story of Machines

November 17th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

On ecycler‘s most recent trip through Michigan (a bottle bill state) we took the opportunity to document a typical grocery store redemption center. In four easy steps we went from having an empty soda bottle to being a dime richer…

A little background, first. A reverse vending machine is a device that accepts used beverage containers and returns money to you–the reverse of the typical vending cycle. Once a container is scanned, identified (i.e., matched in a database) and determined to be a valid container, it is processed and (usually) crushed to reduce its size.

Step 1 – Pick a Machine

Choose a machine based on the container material. In Michigan, for example, you have a choice between glass, plastic or aluminum cans.

Step 2 – Insert Containers

In this case, we have a plastic soda bottle. So, we begin by simply depositing the container in the large opening. The machine will “suck” each container into its bowels and increment the counter.

Step 3 – Review Value

Confirm the count as the machine iterates by one with each deposited container. Then press the big green button to finish the transaction.

Step 4 – Print Receipt and Get Cash

The machine will then print a receipt for you. Take this to the “Guest Services” counter or the attendant on hand for your cash!

Congratulations!

It’s that easy… Most of the bottle bill states give a redemption value of five cents, Michigan takes the exception with its ten cent deposit value.

And, we created a special photo set on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ecycler/sets/72157625326970436/

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