SINGAPORE – A different breed of vending machine is set to make a resurgence here – rather than dispensing drinks, it is hungry for empty drink cans and plastic bottles. This “reverse vending machine” swallows such offerings and, in return, spits out money or coupons that can be used for food and drinks.Distributor Incon Green Singapore has one machine in operation in Admiralty, and has ambitious plans to install 500 across the island in five years in foodcourts, shopping malls, schools, office buildings and even supermarkets.
“The idea is to make it convenient for people to recycle, and to incentivise them to do so,” explained the firm’s managing director Jack Lee.
The local company, which has partnered Chinese firms Incom Recycle and Incom Tomra Recycling Technology (Beijing), is already in talks with some 25 organisations – such as the Singapore Sports School and Singapore Zoo.
The firms make money by selling their vending machines and recycling the items collected, and have successfully set up 14,000 in China and many more worldwide together with Norwegian maker Tomra.