A Green Dream- One Can at a Time

By Ashley Smith

Youngstown State University is currently ranked sixth out of 27 schools participating in the 2014 PepsiCo College Recycling Challenge.

This challenge utilizes what Pepsi has deemed as the “Dream Machine” to help campuses go green by recycling plastic bottles and cans. YSU’s Dream Machine is located right next to the Candy Counter on the first floor of the Kilcawley Center and was installed on Sept. 25.

Vaughn Myers, operations manager at YSU, explained how the Dream Machine works.

“You can recycle either plastic bottles or cans, and you can walk up to the machine, pick what you are going to recycle and you put it in the machine,” he said. “For the incentives program, it will print out a receipt and you go to pepsicorecycling.com where you can register and create an account, once you create an account, you use the code on the receipt to get points.”

The list of incentives varies from local entertainment, sporting events, dining and even travel discounts.

The amount of bottles and cans that can be recycled by one person is unlimited.

“We’ve had some people bring whole bags and put whole bags in at a time. I mean you can’t put the whole bag in at a time — you have to put each item in individually — but they have brought whole bags before,” Myers said.

Pepsi installed this machine; it serves as a way of benefiting the individual, the university, Pepsi itself and the charities that Pepsi is affiliated with.

Matt Novotny, the executive director of Student Services, said YSU brought the machine to campus to highlight their continued push to grow recycling on campus.

“Pepsi supplies the machine at no charge and is connected to their program for sustainability and recycling and U.S. Veterans with Disabilities charity. We brought it to campus to highlight our recycling program and offer incentives [reward points] to encourage and promote awareness of recycling packaging,” he said. “The deposited recyclables are handled by the YSU team like the other existing recycling containers around campus.”

Beyond pure altruism, the university benefits from the program if it moves into the top three slots of the competition. Each of the top three finishers receive a cash prize — ranging from $5,000 to $25,000.

The main focus of this partnership with Pepsi, and the utilization of the Dream Machine, is to help create a more environmentally friendly campus through a classic reward system.

“It’s obviously just a good thing to go green,” Myers said. “I know there’s been a big push — maybe nationwide, maybe worldwide — to go green, and we’re just trying to do our part.”