Recycling is a task that seems simple enough for everyone to participate in, but unfortunately, it is estimated that 79 percent of plastic waste ends up in landfills. A startup called Olyns aims to increase the convenience and incentive to recycle through its new bottle collection machine that launched today.
The Olyns machine can hold 1,000 plastic bottles, 850 aluminum cans, and 50 glass bottles. The company predicts that in a year, one machine can gather one and a half metric tons of recycled PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) plastic packaging. Using A.I. technology, the machine can sort the item by type, and then compresses it.
In the 10 states where bottle deposit laws exist, consumers will be refunded for each container deposited. The consumer must download the Olyns app and tap their phone to the NFC code, which will then pull up their account information on the machine’s screen. The refund is paid via PayPal, and the Olyns app keeps track of earnings from recycling. One consumer can contribute up to 50 items per day.
The company will employ gig workers to empty out the machine when full and drive the compressed bottles and cans to a recycling center. An Olyn app sends out an alert when this service is needed.
Earlier this year, Olyns partnered with PepsiCo to pilot its first machine in a Safeway store location, where the machine collected around 1,000 bottles per day. The plan is to place the collection machine in high-traffic, indoor locations, like grocery stores.
A plastic bottle takes up to 450 years to decompose in a landfill, so it’s no surprise that other companies are on a mission to provide solutions for recycling and single-use packaging waste. CleanRobotics came out with TrashBot, which sorts your recycling and waste through sensors and cameras. Loop aims to completely avoid all single-use packaging by offering name-brand products packaged in reusable metal and glass containers. And scientists from the University of Edinburgh discovered a novel method of converting plastic waste into vanillin, a common food flavoring.
A pilot program for Olyns bottle collection machines is launching in Milpitas and Santa Clara Safeway locations this month. Olyns will not be charging the stores for the pilot program and service, and plans on generating a majority of the income for the system through advertising on the machine’s 65-inch HD video display.