Olyns and Mars-Wrigley gamify recycling with reverse vending machines for candy packaging
25 Oct 2022 --- Olyns is announcing a collaboration with Mars-Wrigley to gamify recycling and provide access for consumers to recycle rigid plastic candy and gum containers. The program is running at select retailers in the San Francisco Bay area.
Beginning this week, individuals in Northern California who deposit qualifying candy containers in an Olyns reverse vending machine will have a chance to win money in rewards in a game-like system.
“Currently, there is no convenient way for people to recycle rigid plastic candy and gum containers. The goal of our collaboration with Mars-Wrigley is to increase the recycling of small rigid plastic containers, high-density PP and PP,” an Olyns spokesperson tells PackagingInsights.
“There is currently no reliable way to recycle rigid plastic candy and gum containers. Many rigid plastic candy and gum containers are put directly into the trash or landfill. Those that are put into recycling may quite literally ‘slip through the cracks’ of traditional processor equipment because they are too small and end up in landfill as well.”
“There is no financial incentive to recycle this container (no deposit or ‘bottle bill’ system). We believe our cash rewards and other incentives, such as virtual badges, will incentivize people to recycle rigid plastic candy and gum containers,” they add.
The Sweet Rewards Challenge will run at select retailers in the San Francisco Bay Area for a limited time beginning October 25 2022.
“The initial Bay Area pilot is scheduled for six months. If successful, it may be extended and expanded across the US,” asserts the spokesperson.
Packaging waste is a challenge that requires new and innovative solutions. “At Mars, we’re committed to contributing to a circular plastics economy where no packaging becomes waste,” says Justin Comes, vice president of R&D at Mars Wrigley North America.
“Rigid plastic containers, like those used for gum and candy, may slip through the cracks of traditional recycling systems because they’re just too small. And because states don’t offer redemption value, there is limited incentive to recycle them,” adds Philip Stanger, co-founder and CEO at Olyns.
Increasing recycling frequencies
Olyns says they are changing the concept by combining convenient recycling with the potential to win rewards. “Every time you deposit a candy container in one of our RVM Cubes, you’ll earn points and a chance to win. We’ve set it up like a slot machine, but instead of inserting a coin to play, you deposit an empty candy container.”
Olyns also utilizes plug-and-play RVM Cubes that feature a 65-inch HD video display, offering an environmentally sustainable way for advertisers to reach consumers in-store. During the Sweet Rewards Challenge, in addition to ads and environmental sustainability messaging, the screen will display colorful slot machine images and “winner” announcements every time a recycler wins a reward.
“We are pioneering gamification and incentives to increase recycling of rigid plastic candy and gum containers. Gamification and incentivization are proven ways to increase the frequency of many activities,” explains the Olyns spokesperson.
“One has only to look at the popularity of casinos and lotteries to understand how intermittent cash rewards can incentivize people, and at any number of mobile apps and games that make use of points to increase user activity. We are applying this approach to recycling,” they conclude.
By Natalie Schwertheim
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