Sophomore biology major Grecia Garza said she hoped bringing a few Dream Machines to campus would provide students both the method and the incentive to recycle.
Garza gave a recycling lecture to Keith Whitworth’s sustainability class about bringing a PepsiCo Dream Machine to campus.
“It is basically a vending machine in reverse,” Garza said. “You scan the product with the bar code and place the plastic and/or aluminum in the proper area, and then you would get rewards.”
Since last September, Garza said Whitworth, an instructor of sociology, has worked with university administration to get one of the Dream Machines installed on campus. It is completely free to get the machine, she said.
Whitworth said he hoped to know within 30 days where university administration planned to install a Dream Machine.
“Instead of throwing a [bottle] away, you can take it to the Dream Machine, and not only are you helping the environment, but you are also rewarded,” he said.
Garza said students, faculty and staff could take all recyclables to the machine and in return receive rewards, such as coupons or gift cards. With each bottle recycled in the Dream Machine, PepsiCo will send the profits to Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities.
Garza said she became interested in recycling after taking Whitworth’s sustainability course her freshman year.
“I enjoyed [the course]. I was like, there’s got to be something I can do to try and make an impact and try to make a difference, and so this is how I did it,” she said.
When she lived in the residence halls her freshman year, Garza said she had no idea what to do with her recyclables after moving into an apartment.
“Nobody really knows [TCU] has a recycling system,” she said. “We have a single stream system, and I don’t think it is effective at all.”
Now living in an apartment, Garza said she came up with an idea to save her recycled products. She convinced her roommates to help her collect all of their recycling by putting all of it in a main living room closet.
“We started [collecting] in September and finished right after finals week, so [it took] about four months,” Garza said.
“I started with one bin, it was a laundry basket,” she said. “And then it just overfilled to the point where you couldn’t even open the door anymore.”
Garza’s roommate, Cassie Torrecillas, said she also has become involved in the recycling effort.
“Grecia is pretty passionate about [recycling],” Torrecillas said. “I had never really recycled before, or even thought about it before she came to us with the idea of starting a recycling closet,” she said.
Torrecillas said she was all for it.
“By saving all of our recyclables, our main goal is to not only get a Dream Machine put on campus, but to also get students aware of where they can recycle,” she said.
Whitworth said he felt the students were a great example of those who worked for change.
“When I teach, I not only want my students to take in the information, but act on the information,” he said. “That is what teaching is all about, motivating students and them taking action to make a difference in the world.”
He said he felt the machine would be more of an educational tool to make students want to recycle.
“It will not replace anything that we are doing now,” he said. “It will just hopefully cause students to begin thinking about the need to recycle, especially since there is an incentive with the rewards system.”
Whitworth said the university has a contract with Waste Management, the company that picks up recycled materials, and that he has spoken to them about the machines.
“It looks really positive. In fact, the next step is to meet and see if there is a place that we can put the Dream Machines,” he said. “Initially, we talked about putting one at the Rec Center or in a dorm or in the University Union or a combination of those three.”