Dream Machine would give students prizes for recycling

About 45 students, faculty and staff members met Friday with representatives from PepsiCo and Waste Management about the benefits of recycling and how it can be rewarding with the Greenopolis Dream Machine.

Jordan Mazurek, a sophomore political science and sociology double major, said representatives discussed the concept of the machine, its purpose and how it works. The machine is a state-of-the-art recycling kiosk that provides recycling incentives in the form of coupons and gift certificates for local businesses, according to an article from greenbiz.com

Mazurek said he hoped local businesses would participate in the project by giving coupons, such as 50 percent off a taco. He said the University of Texas at Arlington currently has four Dream Machines on campus and Fuzzy’s has placed its coupons in those kiosks.

The main goals of the meeting were to tell students more about the machines and show faculty and staff that there was student support, Mazurek said.

Keith Whitworth, a sociology professor, said the meeting was the first step in getting the machines on campus, but now the project must be approved by university officials.

He said Steve Kintigh, director of Campus Recreation, and Craig Allen, director of Residential Services, were willing to have a machine in the University Recreation Center and in one of the dorms on campus. The ideal third location would be the TCU Library, he said, but the library had not been contacted yet.

In addition to Kintigh and Allen, he said other officials involved with approval would be Will Stallworth, vice chancellor of Physical Plant and Brian Gutierrez, vice chancellor for finance and administration.

Mazurek said the Dream Machine kiosks would not take up much space on campus and do not require much energy. The recycling goes through the Waste Management recycling system, which is the current system TCU has used to recycle products.

Whitworth said the only cost the university would incur from the machines would be providing electricity, cash register paper for coupons, and the plastic bags used in the machine.

“Basically it’s at no cost to us,” he said. “The machines cost $35-40,000 each, so those are just given to us.”

Mazurek said the kiosks would be beneficial because they would encourage recycling, give rewards for recycling and help others by donating all proceeds to Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, a non-profit organization that offers business training to post-9/11 veterans.

“You’re helping other people, you’re helping yourself and you’re helping the university,” he said.

Whitworth said the machines would demonstrate the university’s commitment to sustainability, educate students about the need to recycle and condition students to recycle. He said he is confident that the Dream Machine will make it to campus.

“The Dream Machine is just another example of how TCU is committed to sustainability and moving forward,” he said.

The university had talked with PepsiCo representatives about bringing two or three Dream Machines to campus as a pilot project to determine if the program will work for TCU, Whitworth said. The pilot project will be used to find how much maintenance the machines require, whether or not the university can support that maintenance, how emptying the machines will work, who will empty the machines when they are full, if they are placed in proper locations on campus and if any machines need to be moved, he said.

Whitworth said the pilot project would take about three months to gather enough information and work out any problems.

He said this project would be used to gauge the success of the machines and determine the amount recycled when placed in high-traffic areas.

Also, the project would allow the university to publicize the machines and get more recyclable materials, Whitworth said.