Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Green Dream Machine

Visiting Texas A&M last week, I passed one of several big blue PepsiCo Promise Dream Machines on campus--kiosks designed to encourage recycling of bottles and cans while simultaneously educating and rewarding green behavior.

The idea is that students and faculty will use this recycling kiosk and instantly see how they're helping the environment.

Plus they accumulate points that can be redeemed for stuff. And for each item recycled, Pepsi donates money to help disabled veterans.

A couple of years ago, when a Fast Company editor looked at the Dream Machine strategy, she was skeptical that the rewards (Blockbuster discounts, for example!) would really motivate behavioral change. Her idea: "What if, when you recycled a can, you got a random cash reward, up to five bucks or so?" Good point.

Sustainability is a hot topic of social media conversation, to be sure. The Dream Machine Facebook page has attracted 14,700 likes and was busy on Earth Day this year. 

Although PepsiCo has a number of sustainability initiatives underway, the Dream Machine is attracting users--so many, in fact, that PepsiCo recently donated $500,000 to the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, bringing its total contributions to $1.5 million over three years.

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