Reverse Vending Machines Take Recyclable Goods As Payment

Reverse Vending Machines Take Recyclable Goods As Payment

Sydney is trialling two Envirobank machines that reward recyclers with movie tickets, bus trips, and food vouchers.

Emma Hutchings
  • 9 july 2014

Reverse vending machines that accept recycled goods as a form of payment are being trialled in Sydney. The machines take locals’ empty drink cans and plastic bottles before offering up rewards for their recycling efforts.

Beverage containers reportedly outstrip cigarette butts as the most littered item, with 15,000 bottles and cans littered or landfilled in Australia every minute. Clean-Up Australia figures show that drink containers account for over one third of all reported rubbish in New South Wales (NSW) and there are around 40,000 injuries from broken glass bottles in Australia each year, with 5,000 of these requiring medical treatment.

The City of Sydney has tried using recycling bins in public areas in the past but levels of contamination made it impossible to recycle the materials collected. These machines only accept items that can be recycled and reject anything else. They won’t cope with glass containers, those that are full of liquid or crushed.


The two Envirobank reverse vending machines are located on the corner of Dixon and Litte Hay Street in Haymarket and Alfred Street, Bus Stand C in Circular Quay. They can hold up to 2,000 containers each before they need to be emptied. Rewards on offer include 2 for 1 food vouchers from local food trucks, entry into a draw to win two tickets to the 2014 Sydney New Year’s Eve Dawes Point event, Sydney bus tickets, or the option to donate 10 cents to Clean-Up Australia.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore has said that only around 42% of bottles and cans are recycled annually in NSW and the City is working hard to raise that figure through a range of new initiatives. He stated:

These are vending machines with a twist that will encourage Sydneysiders to be even better at recycling plastic bottles and aluminium cans. The machines offer a small reward for people who make the effort to recycle. We’re trialling these reverse vending machine and I hope this new idea will capture the attention of our residents and visitors.

Schemes such as this one help to reduce litter and increase recycling rates. Offering rewards as an incentive for locals is a great way to encourage them to recycle more while supporting local.

City of Sydney

+Clean-Up Australia

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