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'Dream Machines' at ROCS stores reward recyclers

August 08, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com
  • ROCS District Manager David Siler inserts his account tag before scanning aluminum and plastic items for recycling at the ROCS store at 1100 Shepherdstown Road in Martinsburg, W.Va. Customers can create an account that totals reward points for each item recycled.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The clatter of empty Pepsi-Cola cans falling on concrete outside a convenience store in Martinsburg on Monday signaled the formal debut of PepsiCo’s national “Dream Machine” recycling initiative in the Tri-State.

More than 100 cans spilled to the sidewalk in front of ROCS convenience store at 1100 Shepherdstown Road when Martinsburg Mayor George Karos wielded a large pair of gold-colored scissors to snip the string of dark blue aluminum just above his head.

PepsiCo launched the Dream Machine initiative on Earth Day last year with the goal of increasing the U.S. beverage container recycling rate from 34 percent to 50 percent by 2018, according to a news release from the company.

The program includes a collaboration with Waste Management, Keep America Beautiful, Greenopolis and now ROCS store owners R.M. Roach & Sons Co.

The recycling kiosks are outfitted with bar code readers, and individuals who wish to participate in the initiative receive points for each bottle or aluminum can recycled, officials said. The points can be redeemed for local discounts.

ROCS plans to eventually offer discounts via the program, which Matt Roach of ROCS noted also supports the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities.

EBV is a national program that trains post-9/11 disabled veterans in entrepreneurship and small-business management.  

The Dream Machines have been placed at each of the 14 ROCS stores in the Eastern Panhandle, as well as the Maugans Avenue store near Hagerstown.

“We felt this was a good opportunity for us to do a lot of good things for the community,” said ROCS District Manager David Siler.

On Sunday, Siler said children were “dunking” recyclables like basketballs into the kiosk at the Maugans Avenue store.

“It was fun ... they slammed it into the (kiosk) ... They actually put a whole trash bag into that machine (and tallied 365 points),” Siler said.

The Maugans Avenue ROCS store was the only Dream Machine location in Maryland listed in PepsiCo’s Web-based machine locater database Monday. The only other locations in West Virginia are in the Charleston area.

Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority Chairman Clint Hogbin said the point-incentive program is reminiscent of his childhood, when he could turn in discarded bottles for a small amount of money.

“Obviously, the more convenience that you make in the recycling world, the more participation you’re going to have,” Hogbin said of having recycling bins in high traffic areas.  

Hogbin said the Solid Waste Authority is promoting the program, which he hopes also will help reduce litter and encourage groups to take part in litter cleanup efforts.

Jason Roach said he and his brother, Matt Roach, became the fourth generation of their family to run the business in February and began inquiring about the Dream Machine program shortly afterward.

ROCS Convenience Stores are owned by R.M. Roach and Sons Co., a family-owned energy products and services business started nearly 60 years ago.

“We are so pleased that ROCS Convenience Stores has partnered with the Dream Machine program to make recycling kiosks available to shoppers,” Jeremy Cage of PepsiCo said in a news release.

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