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Pepsi’s “Dream Machine” Gives Rewards for Recycling, Giant Check Comes Later

Forgetrecycling bins. PepsiCo has a new bottle-tossing machine that purports tosave the world and give Americans what they want. And what what theywant, dear reader, is free stuff.

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At 150 Rite Aids across NorthCarolina, 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 willit actually encourage people to recycle?

The Dream Machine, asit’s called, works like this: Scan your bottle, then toss it into achute. The machine registers how many points it’s worth and prints outa receipt. Then you go to Greenopolis.com toredeem points for Blockbuster certificates, discounts at JohnnyRockets, and yeah, probably a bunch of Pepsi junk. Still confused?Greenopolis trots out a hot blonde “reporter” to share the deets:

It’shard to imagine anyone other than an allowance-starved 12-year-oldsgetting excited about this sort of thing. (And Blockbuster? What’s yourtarget audience, Boca Raton?)

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

Europe,by the way, has had bottle-recycling machines for years. Countries likeNorway and Germany don’t need silly gimmicks to convince people torecycle. 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?

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