Vending Machine Dispenses Free Books to Children in Buffalo, NY

Child Reading a BookThese days, vending machines are capable of doing more than just keeping workplaces stocked with convenient, nutritious food options. From cars to clothing, you can find vending machines that dispense a wide variety of other products as well.

In Buffalo, New York, for example, one public elementary school is even using a vending machine to promote literacy among its young students.

At the Arthur O. Eve School of Distinction #61, students are receiving golden tokens that given them access to free books from a new vending machine that offers age-appropriate literature for children in Pre-K through 4th grade. Rather than giving out books as rewards for good behavior or attendance, every student at the school will have an opportunity to choose a book from the vending machine based on a monthly rotation. The students are then encouraged to take these books home and use them to start their very own libraries.

The book vending machine was funded by the Community Action Organization of Western New York, which purchased the machine for $2,000 and provided an additional $1,000 to fill it with books. Another local nonprofit organization called The Teacher’s Desk has offered to keep the machine stocked with books in the future.

“One of the biggest issues we have in this district is literacy,” said Buffalo School Board member Sharon Belton-Cottman in a recent interview. “If our children can read, they can survive.”

Thanks to the efforts of the dedicated educators in Buffalo, this vending machine will be providing treasured reading material to the students at PS 61 for years to come.

Study Finds Coffee May Protect the Brain From Cognitive Decline

Office CoffeeIt’s no secret that a fresh cup of coffee can give us a boost of energy and alertness in the morning, but new research suggests that drinking coffee could have long-term benefits on our cognitive health as well. Thanks to the presence of chemical compounds called phenylindanes that develop during the brewing process, coffee may contribute to a reduced risk of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

 

That’s what researchers at the Krembil Brain Institute in Toronto found after analyzing the chemical compositions of light roast, dark roast and decaffeinated dark roast coffees.

“Coffee consumption does seem to have some correlation to a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease,” said Dr. Donald Weaver, co-director of the Krembil Brain Institute in a statement. “but we wanted to investigate why that is—which compounds are involved and how they may impact age-related cognitive decline.”

Weaver and his research team studied the effect of coffee on the brain by exposing three different coffee extracts to the amyloid beta and tau proteins which form “clumps” during the development of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. They found that all three extracts inhibited protein clumping, which suggests that coffee could help to stave off the progression of these neurodegenerative diseases.

They also noted that while both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee extracts inhibited protein clumping, the effect was more pronounced with dark roast coffee. This is likely due to the fact that phenylindane concentrations tend to increase in coffees with longer roasting times.

“By heating things up, the chemicals undergo changes,” said Dr. Weaver in a recent interview. “As well, the heating process gives us access to chemicals that would normally not be there.”

Ultimately, Dr. Weaver hopes that his research might help scientists develop a phenylindane-based treatment that prevents protein clumping, thereby slowing or even stopping cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

As if we needed one more reason to start our day with a hot cup of coffee.

The London Underground is Getting Laundry Vending Machines

Dry CleaningDry cleaning your professional attire is a great way to prolong the lifespan of some of your nicest clothing, but taking weekly trips to the cleaners can be a huge hassle. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a simpler way to dry clean your clothes without being forced to add one more thing to your to-do list?

In London, many commuters can now drop off their dry cleaning on their way to work thanks to a local company called VClean Life.

This startup recently introduced vending machines called VDrop machines that are designed to make dry cleaning easy for busy professionals who can’t always make it to the cleaners. Now, commuters can deposit their clothing in one of the machines—which are conveniently located in London Underground stations throughout the city—and have them dry cleaned, folded and ready to be picked up in just 24 hours.

To start using VClean Life’s unique new service, all people have to do is sign up for it online and receive a QR code from the company. Using this code, customers can drop clothes off at any VDrop machine in the city. Then, the clothing will be picked up, transported to a facility owned by VClean Life, dry cleaned and returned to the same machine in under a day. Despite the added convenience, the service expected to cost a fraction of the price of working with a traditional dry-cleaning company.

At Orsino Vending, we’re always excited to see what companies like VClean Life are doing with vending machines these days. We’re also working hard to provide companies with everything they need to incorporate vending machines into their own businesses. Call us at (201) 871-9286 to get started today!

A NYC Butcher Shop Is Selling Meat in Vending Machines

Ribeye SteakNeed a cut of steak at a moment’s notice? If you happen to be in New York City, you can have 24-hour access to fresh beef, pork, lamb and more thanks to a series of new vending machines at the Applestone Meat Co. butcher shop. The shop’s owner Josh Applestone was reportedly inspired by the automat designs of the 1950s.

“I remembered Horn & Hardart [the ‘50s automated luncheonette, whose last new York outpost closed in 1991],” said Applestone in an interview with Bloomberg. “There were very few people providing nonstop food. I put two and two together.”

Applestone’s meat vending machines look similar to the carousel-style fresh food vending machines you might see in schools and office buildings. Applestone currently has vending machines in two locations on the outskirts of NYC, and he plans to expand his operation to at least three more locations by 2019. He’s also in the process of developing custom-made machines that are expected to be ready by next year. Whereas his current vending machines can hold about 150 items each, his new machines will be able to hold as many as 1,000 items at once.

Ultimately, Applestone would like to bring his vending machines to neighborhoods in other cities across the country as well. He hopes that the 24/7 machines will offer a convenient source of fresh food to people whose hectic lifestyles may keep them from making it to the grocery store after a long day of work. Thus far, his vending machine enterprise has been enormously successful. According to his interview in Bloomberg, Applestone’s vending machines in Stone Ridge, New York currently account for about 70 percent of his total sales.

Want to outfit your workplace with a modern fresh food vending machine? You can find a number of great options at Orsino Vending! Give us a call or contact us online today to get started.

Natural Biopolymers Could Replace Plastic Packaging in Vending Machines

Plastic Wrapped PeppersIf you’ve purchased fresh food from a vending machine recently, you may have noticed that it came wrapped in transparent plastic packaging. This impermeable packaging is very effective at preventing fresh food from spoiling, but it’s not especially environmentally friendly. That’s why researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are exploring innovative ways to develop new food packaging materials made from natural fibers.

Earlier this month, the researchers announced that they have created a promising new material derived from crab shells and tree fibers that could one day serve as a viable replacement for flexible plastic food packaging. The material is made by spraying alternating layers of chitin from crab shells and cellulose fibers from trees to form a flexible, compostable and impermeable film. These two materials, chitin and cellulose, are the world’s most common natural biopolymers.

“The main benchmark that we compare it to is PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, one of the most common petroleum-based materials in the transparent packaging you see in vending machines and soft drink bottles,” says professor J. Carson Meredith of Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. “Our material showed up to a 67 percent reduction in oxygen permeability over some forms of PET, which means it could in theory keep foods fresher longer.”

The research team’s biopolymer-based packaging sounds like a promising proof of concept, but they still have plenty of work to do to develop a cost-effective manufacturing process that can produce the material in large quantities. If they succeed in their efforts to mass produce the eco-friendly packaging, it could significantly reduce the amount of plastic we consume in vending machines and grocery stores each year.

Coca-Cola Promotes Recycling With Reverse Vending Machines

Reverse Vending MachineCold bottles of Coca-Cola have been vending machine staples for decades, and now the company is using “reverse vending machines” to encourage their customers to recycle every bottle of Coke they buy. Earlier this month, Coca-Cola deployed its reverse vending machines at the 50th anniversary Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle. Each time an attendee returned a bottle or can to one of the machines, it would automatically contribute the $.05 deposit as a donation to Special Olympics Washington. In other places where Coca-Cola has installed its reverse vending machines, customers can receive gifts such as Coke-branded t-shirts, bags and hats made from recycled plastic when they deposit their used bottles and cans.

Coca-Cola is particularly interested in using its reverse vending machines to encourage recycling at music festivals and other outdoor events where large quantities of bottled beverages are consumed. They’ve even suggested offering VIP benefits to fans who use their recycling centers at these events. Coca-Cola North America is currently in the process of deploying reverse vending machines at retail locations in the United States and Canada as well.

This program constitutes just one part of Coca-Cola’s ambitious World Without Waste initiative, which aims to “collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can it sells globally by 2030.” In addition to creating its own recycling centers, the company is also working to develop 100-percent recyclable packaging and reduce the amount of plastic that is used to make its bottles.

Keep an eye out next time you buy a bottle of Coke from a vending machine—there could be another machine waiting to take your bottle back nearby!

Encourage Healthy Workplace Eating Habits With These Tips

Healthy SnackThere are many benefits associated with encouraging your employees to lead healthy lifestyles. Healthy employees tend to be more productive and take fewer sick days, for example. Check out a few of our favorite tips for promoting healthy workplace eating habits below!

Order healthy food options for office parties.

When you order food for an office party, it might be tempting to call up the local pizza place and ask them to deliver a few pies. But is that really the right choice for your employees? Rather than ordering greasy takeout options, offer your employees more nutritious foods at parties instead. A “Make Your Own Salad” table can be a lot of fun, and it will give your employees an opportunity to try healthier foods.

Hold contests that promote healthy eating.

Losing weight on your own can be a challenge, but losing weight as a team? That can be all the motivation your employees need to drop some pounds. Consider offering rewards like a day of paid time off if they’re able to lose ‘X’ number of pounds as a group. Not only can this foster healthy diet and exercise habits, it can help build camaraderie among your employees as well.

Stock vending machines with nutritious foods.

What’s inside the vending machines in your office? If you’re only offering things like cookies and chips, it may be hard for your employees to find healthy snacks throughout the day. These days, you can find a variety of healthy vending machine options that are great alternatives to traditional sodas and salty snacks.

To learn more about all the healthy food options we offer at Orsino Vending, give us a call or contact us online today!

Carvana Unveils New Eight-Story Vehicle Vending Machine

Woman in New CarYou can find just about anything in vending machines these days. Whether you’re looking to grab a quick bite to eat in your office or a new pair of headphones at the airport, you can usually find a vending machine that has just what you need.

Now, people in Charlotte, North Carolina can even buy cars from a vending machine owned and operated by Carvana.

This massive machine is eight stories tall, and it’s capable of holding up to 32 cars at a time. Carvana, which specializes in buying and selling vehicles online, designed the machine to give their customers a convenient new way to purchase cars without having to spend hours in a dealership. All they need to do is find the vehicle they want online, select a payment option, and then choose for it to be delivered to the vending machine for pickup.

Once the car arrives, its new owner can schedule a time to visit the vending machine and activate it with a large commemorative coin. The machine will then spring into action, sending the vehicle down to a delivery bay where it can be picked up by the customer and driven home. All of this is done without the help of any human employees.

Carvana hopes that the vending machine will encourage more people to buy cars online, rather than from traditional brick-and-mortar dealerships. Last year, the company began offering a similar vending machine service in Houston, Texas as well.

Interested in outfitting your workplace with a modern, versatile vending machine? Give us a call today or contact us online to get started!