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!
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/