Innovation That Matters

New kiosk machine pays out for old batteries


Coop Norway and Swedish firm Refind have launched a new reverse vending machine that encourages people to recycle their flat batteries.

Despite it being common knowledge that throwing batteries into the trash is bad for the environment, much of the population still discard them instead of using the battery recycling banks offered by many supermarkets. A new initiative by Coop Norway – which has been funded by battery giant Energiser and developed by Swedish outfit Refind – has been designed to give users an extra incentive.

Launched on Earth Day, April 22nd, the reverse vending machine will let people drop off their dead batteries into the compartment, which are then scanned and tallied-up into a refund. The machine recognises main household batteries (AA, AAA, C, D and 9V) through size sensors. At the moment, installed kiosks are paying out one krone per battery, which is printed out as a coupon that can be used to buy new batteries. The machines are completely programmable to print out any kind of coupons of any chosen value.

“Norwegians are good at recycling, but can be better,” said Geir Inge Stokke, concern manager of Coop Norway. “Awareness is good as a motivational factor, but further incentives as a financial reward can be even more important.”

It’s being tested in Obs! stores around Oslo, with a means to expanding it nationally if successful. All innovations that reduce the damage done by discarded batteries are welcome, such as these water-soluble batteries and this origami battery which is powered by dirty water. What other ways could monetary payouts be used to help the environment?



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