By KC Orcutt, UAS
This semester, University Auxiliary Services
launched use of its recently installed reverse vending machine . The
reverse vending machine will accept nearly all plastic bottles and
aluminum cans for the deposit, given that the 5 cent New York State
bottle tax and barcode is readable on the product.
Tomra, the machine’s provider, is the leading supplier of advanced
recycling solutions throughout nearly 50 countries. The company was
founded in 1972 in Asker, Norway and is committed to helping aid the
world’s recycling effort and its machines have begun to sprout up
throughout college campuses.
The machine is equally efficient as it is easy to use. Customers
simply place their empty cans and bottles into the machine, in standard
recycling procedure, and once finished, a receipt will print out with a
barcode that is redeemable for cash or for use as a part of their
purchase at the Outtakes store.
“If Coca-Cola comes out with a new beverage, for example, Chartwells
has the ability to request Tomra to add the new product to be accepted
in the Chartwells system,” explained Emily Lamontagne, the Quality
Assurance Associate at UAS. “We chose to use Outtakes as our deposit
slip location because it has the widest available open hours for
Resembling a modern recycling machine visually,
such as the ones found in Price Chopper, the machine utilizes the
minimal space that it occupies by accepting, sorting and compacting the
recyclable material as a ‘one-stop’ recycling center. The reverse
vending machine can accept up to 45 containers per minute and has a
total capacity of 900 cans and 200 plastic containers, and requires no further special electrical requirement to run.
“The machine has an odometer function, similar to
that in a car,” said Lamontagne. “It keeps track of the deposited
bottles and cans collectively in its lifetime."
"We will be working with Chartwells to do weekly
reads of the information," said Mary Ellen Mallia, the Director of
Environmental Sustainability. "We will include the Tomra deposits
into RecycleMania. We have a goal of recycling 300,000 lbs of
material, and any returnables will help us get to our goal.” The
RecycleMania program, a national competition between universities and colleges
for recycling, will begin on January 23rd and end on April 2nd.
Weekly updates and the University's standing is available online at: albany.edu/gogreen/recyclemania
"We’re excited to offer another on-site option for
students," said Mallia. "Hopefully the accessibility of the machine
will encourage students to recycle on campus. It will help make it
easier if students don’t have to worry about off-campus travel."
The process of picking up and transporting recyclable materials to
sorting and processing facilities also is made easier by Tomra, and
helps to reduce the cost of maintenance for curbside recycling, as
maintained by Chartwells staff. The machine’s self-containing
attributes allow for optimal cleanliness and effectiveness, and will be
emptied and cleaned daily by a designated Chartwells employee.
The reverse vending machine is located across from
SEFCU, centrally located in the Campus Center and neighboring the
Outtakes store. There are recycling receptacles set up in this area as
well, for glass and other non-deposit recyclable materials not
accepted by the machine, such as Glacéau vitamin water.
“The major focus of the efforts of those of us
working in the Office of Environmental Sustainability is to create an
environment in which it is easy to be "green". The steps we have taken
in the past two and a half years since I was an incoming freshman are
incredible and this community of sustainability is growing,” said
Jeremy Grunstra, a Junior, double-majoring in history and sociology.
“The use of reverse vending machines is an excellent step forward in
creating a community of sustainability on our campus.” Grunstra works
in the Office of Environmental Sustainability and is also a chairman on
the University's Student Sustainability Council.