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Pepsi's "Dream Machine" Gives Rewards for Recycling, Giant Check Comes Later

Forget recycling bins. PepsiCo has a new bottle-tossing machine that purports to save the world and give Americans what they want. And what what they want, dear reader, is free stuff.

At 150 Rite Aids across North Carolina, ATM-like recycling kiosks emblazoned with Pepsi's logo (natch), exchange empty cans and bottles for all sorts of goodies. It's like a gumball machine with a social conscience, and a whopping 3,000 of these will be installed in southern California by summer's end.

But will it actually encourage people to recycle?

The Dream Machine, as it's called, works like this: Scan your bottle, then toss it into a chute. The machine registers how many points it's worth and prints out a receipt. Then you go to to redeem points for Blockbuster certificates, discounts at Johnny Rockets, and yeah, probably a bunch of Pepsi junk. Still confused? Greenopolis trots out a hot blonde "reporter" to share the deets:

It's hard to imagine anyone other than an allowance-starved 12-year-olds getting excited about this sort of thing. (And Blockbuster? What's your target audience, Boca Raton?)

Then again, bottle recycling machines are a good idea, especially in a country where public bins are few and far between. So if you really want to appeal to the Boca set, why not turn the Dream Machine into a slot machine? Or, make it print coupons? Hell, it could spit out kittens for all we care. Anything but Blockbuster.

Europe, by the way, has had bottle-recycling machines for years. Countries like Norway and Germany don't need silly gimmicks to convince people to recycle. They rely on cold hard cash.

They might be onto something: Afterall, if you were considering going out of your way to recycle a can, isn't a bit of instant gratification the best motivator?

If so, we've got an even better idea: What if, when you recycled a can, you got a random cash reward, up to five bucks or so?