Concerns over protecting the environment and conservation efforts have grown remarkably in the past few years, and the topic of batteries remains high on this list. Unfortunately, society’s rapid reward and disposal mindset has led to a major problem concerning batteries. Batteries have the potential to decimate entire ecosystems, points out Emma Hutchings, since one tossed battery could contaminate up to 20-square-meters of soil. Fortunately, Hutchings revealed how Russia is partnering with local businesses and vending machine revolutionaries to address this problem.
Battery Recycling Vending Machine
In Moscow, a typical battery recycling center gathers about 1,000 batteries in a single month. Once the battery recycling vending machine, which allowed users to pay for items with used batteries, had been installed, the total number of batteries collected in this area soared to more than 8,000. This equates to 160,000-square-meters of ground space protected by simply installing this Think Blue Machine.
Items in the Machine
Now, many might argue that batteries are not a viable way to pay for goods, such as foods or drinks, due to the potential for cross-contamination. However, the battery recycling vending machine isn’t primarily for these items. For example, users could pay two batteries to get a stress ball, four batteries to get a bottle of water, or six batteries for an eco-friendly t-shirt. All of the items within the Think Blue Machine are selected for their ability to encourage more people to protect the environment and stay healthy, i.e. water instead of soda.
Future of Battery Recycling
Russia is responsible for the disposal of up to 15 million batteries annually, which equates to millions of cubic miles of toxic soil in dumping grounds. Volkswagen is no stranger to the battery industry; each vehicle uses a battery for starting the engine, except in electric vehicles. While society becomes more aware of the potential hazards for not properly disposing of batteries, eco vending machines like the Think Blue Machine could be the solution to much more than recycling single batteries. The machine could work like an exchange; providing new batteries in exchange for 10 used batteries. Ultimately, the battery manufacturer and the recycling organization make money in this way.
Although the Think Blue Machine was designed expressly for recycling batteries and encouraging eco-friendly thoughts among industrial cities, this could prove to be a venture to use across many other landscapes. The applications for a recycling vending machine could include aluminum cans, glass, plastics, and more. The only real question that remains is how will future generations want to pay for the things they want?