Kent State Receives a PepsiCo Dream Machine; E-Inside; July 20, 2015

University teams up with PepsiCo to increase recycling efforts on campus
The PepsiCo Dream machine, located in the Kent Student Center, is an innovative system that rewards people with points for every recycled plastic PET #1 empty beverage bottle or aluminum can.

enter photo description
The PepsiCo Dream machine, located in
the Kent Student Center, is an innovative
system that rewards people with points
for every recycled plastic PET #1 empty
beverage bottle or aluminum can.

Kent State University has partnered with PepsiCo to bring a Dream Machine kiosk to the Kent Campus to help increase recycling. According to PepsiCo, less than one-third of plastic beverage containers are recycled each year. The company has made a commitment to form strategic partnerships to help increase the U.S. beverage container recycle rate to 50 percent by 2018.

Dream Machine kiosks are computerized, interactive recycling receptacles that provide an easy and convenient way for students to recycle their bottles and cans on the go. The kiosks use an innovative system to reward people with points for every recycled plastic PET #1 empty beverage bottle or aluminum can. These points may be redeemed for local discounts on entertainment, dining and travel at

The Dream Machine is located in the Kent Student Center for anyone to use. Faculty, staff, students and the public are encouraged to scan their bottles, place it in the chute and grab a printed receipt with their total points. Bottles and cans from all manufacturers are accepted at the Dream Machine, and each container recycled is worth five points.

“We are excited to partner with PepsiCo to increase recycling on campus and make it more fun and rewarding for our campus community,” says Melanie Knowles, Kent State’s sustainability manager. “The Dream Machine program also offers our campus community the opportunity to support a great cause.” 

The campus community can still recycle bottles and cans at blue single-stream bins around campus.

“Single-stream bins can take all numbered plastics, glass beverage containers, aluminum, paper and cardboard,” Knowles says. “Kent State’s Office of Sustainability has been adding recycling bins around campus, including 10 new combination trash/recycling bins along the Lefton Esplanade to encourage recycling.”

The PepsiCo Dream Machine Program

To date, PepsiCo has collected more than 2.2 million containers on college and university campuses, and a total of 15 million containers through the Dream Machine program alone.

Through PepsiCo’s “Recycle for Nature” program, every time students recycle a bottle or can in the Dream Machine, PepsiCo will donate more to the Nature Conservancy to protect clean drinking water for millions of people in America’s iconic waterways. Students can further support the cause by selecting to donate their rewards points to the Nature Conservancy when they redeem their points online. 

The materials recycled in the Dream Machine also make it possible for PepsiCo to donate funds to the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), which provides post-9/11 disabled veterans training, at no cost, in entrepreneurship and small business management.

“We are thrilled to partner with Kent State University to make recycling beverage containers a more fun, rewarding and convenient process for college students,” says Tim Carey, senior director of sustainability at PepsiCo. “By recycling in the on-campus Dream Machine, students can earn personal rewards, show their school spirit and help to make a real difference for our planet and in the lives of disabled U.S. veterans.”

As part of the collaboration, Kent State will join in PepsiCo’s Campus Recycling Challenge, which pits participating colleges and universities against one another in a competition that tracks recycling progress online at

Kent State Class Initiated Dream Machine Partnership

The contract to bring a Dream Machine to the Kent Campus all started with a sustainability project in a class led by English Professor Uma Krishnan, Ph.D.

“Creating awareness about recycling is so important,” Krishnan says. “The tendency should be that if I have a piece of paper in my hand that can be recycled, I should recycle it. We need to instill that mindset in every person on this campus.”

In this particular section of the Honors College Colloquium, during the first semester, students conducted research on an area of sustainability of their choice. The students then put the project into practice and tried to implement it the following semester.

“The project didn’t really start as a Dream Machine,” says Bailey Cole, sophomore zoology student. “We were researching the idea of a reverse vending machine, and I didn’t even know the Dream Machine project existed till we started researching intensely and later interviewed Ms. Melanie Knowles, sustainability manager at Kent State.”

After finding out about PepsiCo’s Dream Machine project, the students conducted surveys of Kent State students.

The team found 97 percent of students said they would recycle more if they were given an incentive.

Also, when students were asked why they don’t recycle, many said they don’t think it is that important. Others said we need more recycling bins on campus.

“Now, with the Dream Machine, students may be more inclined to recycle rather than just throwing it in the trash,” Cole says.

The Dream Machine is a part of Kent State’s sustainability initiative to increase recycling to divert thousands of pounds of waste from landfills and protect the environment. 

“It very important for everyone on this campus to understand the environmental, economic and social aspects of sustainability, and how they work together to create an initiative like this,” Krishnan says.

For more information about Kent State’s Office of Sustainability, visit

POSTED: Tuesday, June 21, 2016 01:36 PM
Updated: Saturday, December 3, 2022 01:02 AM