KSU’s reverse vending machine encourages recycling

KSU’s reverse vending machine encourages recycling

A Coca-Cola reverse vending machine was installed in the Carmichael Student Center on Feb. 15 with the intent to encourage students to recycle.

“Our goal is to help the environment by encouraging our students to recycle while providing them with a way to give back to their community,” Executive Director of Campus Services Lauren Gleason said.

Currently, the only machine on campus resides on the first floor of the Carmichael Student Center on the Kennesaw campus, but Gleason says KSU is expected to place more on both campuses in the future and the potential to include other charities is being explored.

While no locations for the new machines have been determined, Gleason says the goal is to place the new machines in areas near vending machines with high foot traffic.

The reverse vending machine is part of a Coca-Cola philanthropic initiative to support the Children’s Miracle Network, an organization that helps increase funds and awareness for local children’s hospitals.

The experience takes less than a minute as students place an empty bottle or can into the front opening of the machine, and watch as the machine crushes the recyclable. Users then press a button on the machine’s screen to donate five cents per bottle — up to $5,000 total — to Children’s Miracle Network.


With each bottle put into the machine, five cents is donated to the Children’s Miracle Network. Photo credit: Haley Johnson

The university does not make a profit from recycling as all money raised through the machine goes to Children’s Miracle Network. Coca-Cola donated $5,000 raised through the machine to Children’s Miracle Network in spring, Gleason said.

A KSU student sustainability intern employed by Atlas Reverse Vending Machines Systems, the company that supplies Coca-Cola with the machines, regularly collects the crushed recyclables as part of KSU’s recycling stream. A counter on the side of the machine collects data on engagement which is sent back to Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola approached KSU’s Campus Services in October 2018 about a pre-prototype they had for a reverse vending machine, Gleason said. KSU was approached by Coca-Cola because of the student organization known as Miracle at KSU’s Dance Marathon, an annual event to raise funds for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

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