UAlbany Goes GreenVend®

UAlbany and UAS have teamed up with Next Generation Vending to install GreenVend® machines on campus. This development comes amid changes aimed at helping to reduce UAlbany’s environmental footprint.

What is GreenVend®?  A Next Generation Vending representative described the initiative as “an exclusive Next Generation program offering customers an extensive line of wholesome snack options including organic, all-natural, locally sourced, vegan, gluten-free or kosher products.”

One way in which UAS has worked to save money and reduce waste is to retrofit existing vending machines with newer, greener hardware. This is more cost-efficient than replacing the machine, and more environmentally conscious – the older model would simply end up in a landfill.

Changes made to the machines involve installing new graphics, new electronic components, and LED lights rather than the standard fluorescent bulbs. According to Next Generation Vending, LED light strips cost $140 per strip and last from seven to ten years. Fluorescent bulbs cost $60-90 each considering the replacement costs and have an average life span of 11-13 months when continuously lit. The higher price of the LED strip is offset by the fact that after two fluorescent replacements, the LED strip pays for itself.

In a snack machine, a LED strip needs only eight watts of energy while a fluorescent bulb requires 15 watts. By switching to LED, the University saves $28.32 a year per machine.

The LED lights are equipped with energy-efficient sensors that dim the lights when not in use, and reactivate them as customers approach.

Another exciting new feature is The Mind™, a touch-screen technology on GreenVend® machines that displays product information such as category and nutritional values.

UAS plans to further reduce the University’s environmental footprint and encourage recycling with the introduction of the Reverse Vending Machine, similar to those found in grocery stores. This will provide a way for students to recycle cans and plastic bottles instead of throwing them away. Students will be given a receipt that can be deposited into their Podium accounts or exchanged for cash. UAS is currently looking into ways to add the deposit onto students’ Podium accounts.

University Auxiliary Services at Albany and all of our partners are involved in sustainable efforts here on campus. Watch for more information on what we are doing to contribute to the university’s ongoing efforts to reduce waste and improve efficiency. -Charles Vella