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An ecopod® is a compact recycling system designed to be placed in the home to increase the ease of recycling. The ecopod® accepts recyclable items such as cans, glass bottles, plastic bottles, newspapers, and plastic bags, among others. It resembles a garbage can, and was designed by BMW DesignworksUSA.
The ecopod® is capable of compacting some of the recyclable items placed inside it. When aluminum cans or plastic bottles are inserted through the hole on top of the can, the user can step on a lever that causes the ecopod® to manually compact the item and drop it into a removable bin below. The company states that the bins can hold between 50 and 60 crushed containers, and is capable of crushing containers that are 24 fluid ounces (710 ml.) or smaller. When the bin is full, it can slide out and be dumped into a curbside recycling bin or into a bin at a recycling center.
The ecopod® also features two other, separate storage compartments for other recyclables that cannot be compacted. As mentioned above, this might include newspapers, plastic bags, cardboard, or glass bottles. This storage compartment is also removable to make it easier to transfer recyclables to the appropriate recycling bin. The ecopod® is designed to make it easier to keep recyclable items all in one place, and is especially convenient for smaller homes.
The ecopod® is manufactured in plastic and stainless steel, and is available in either black or white to match the kitchen design. It is 31 inches (78 cm) high, 20.5 inches (52 cm) deep, and 16 inches (40 cm) wide, and appears very similar to a garbage can with a small hole on top and a lid that lifts. It also includes a child-safety lock to prevent the crushing mechanism from being used unsafely.
The ecopod® is meant to make recycling easier and to encourage people to take their items to the recycling center instead of a landfill. Some states also offer recycling redemption, a small monetary reward to encourage recycling. Using this recycling compactor could end up saving families money while helping to improve the environment.
The term "ecopod" might also refer to a biodegradable coffin that was manufactured in Britain and has recently become available in the United States. The casket is made of recycled paper and is shaped like a "seed pod." For those especially concerned about going green, this is certainly an option.