Vending machines have become a popular means of recycling everything from batteries to light bulbs. Now, a new vending machine takes the idea reusing and recycling to a higher level by allowing users to exchange gently used items for other items or credit. This post was updated with new information.
Updated May, 22 2012: the Swap-O-Matic project has fired up a Kickstarter, which you can check out here. The rest of the original post follows.
That's right, you can gather up that old tennis racquet and swap it for something you might actually use via the Swap-O-Matic!
It's a pretty simple concept. Users donate items to the Swap-O-Matic and in return they'll get credits; credits are used to retrieve other items. You can donate, receive or swap using the touch screen interface. New users will get three credits to start.
The machine's digital interface also includes a user flagging system to prevent misuse of the system. Presumably this also includes a measure of quality control so users aren't depositing junk into the machine but rather items that other users would be interested in.
The designers of the Swap-O-Matic wanted to find a new way of encouraging users to focus on sustainable living through reusing and trading rather than always buying new. They decided to playfully turn the idea of instant gratification on its ear by marrying it with recycled items via the funky retro-themed.
The Swap-O-Matic is currently operating like a mini pop-up store visiting various locations in New York City.
Here's hoping the idea takes off to more cities soon. Recycling is great for the environment…and for all the items in my closet gathering dust!