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This arcade machine runs on empty plastic bottles

Coca-Cola engages in an environmentally minded publicity stunt by launching an arcade game that takes bottles, not coins.

Coke arcade machine
Lines formed to play the Pong-like game. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

The city of Dhaka in Bangladesh has a population of 15 million. It's a place that isn't known for a high awareness of recycling. To put a little dent in that, Coca-Cola built a classic arcade game machine that won't take coins, only empty plastic bottles. The slot is built to the exact size specifications of a plastic Coke bottle.

The machine, called the "Happiness Arcade," was deposited around the city in six different locations over six days. It doesn't exactly offer the most modern video game experience ever created. The game is pretty much like Pong, except it uses little Coke bottles in place of the usual moving paddles.

Grey Dhaka, the advertising agency behind the stunt, admits that it's hard to tell how much of an impact the machine might have, writing, "Like so much experiential sustainability marketing, this campaign will be difficult to value in real ROR (return on recycling!) terms. Ultimately, this campaign is all about awareness raising (agitpop you might call it)."

The report on the experiment is that thousands of bottles were collected over the six days the machine was in operation. Those bottles were turned into pellets through a recycling process that makes them reusable for other plastic products.

The recycling arcade machine concept may be rolled out in other parts of the world as part of a larger campaign. It would be nice if the game became a little more sophisticated, perhaps involving a version of Duck Hunt where you have to take out flying Pepsi bottles.

(Via Design Taxi)