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'It simplifies your life' | ER doctor invents in-home bottle deposit machine

The "Nessie" will likely be available in summer 2020.

SPRING LAKE, Mich — One Spring Lake man is working to make returning cans easier while remaining environmentally friendly.

In the days of home delivery, Nathan Arnold worked to have an environmentally friendly solution to deal with the cans without taking them back to the store. His patent-pending appliance is currently a prototype in the testing phase, he said.

The appliance, called Nessie, scans the code on the can or plastic bottle. It then crushes the item for the consumer to place in curbside recycling.

Instead of 10 cents for deposit, people will receive between 5 and 7 cents for each can. The deposit will be linked to the customer’s preferred store loyalty program, which can be used for in-store or online purchases from that grocer.

“I wanted to improve the efficiency of recycling for Michigan residents,” Arnold said. “The Nessie appliance is part of a modern system that addresses the pain points of returning Michigan 10 cents plastic bottles/cans that aligns with the changing retail landscape model of delivery, pick-up and fulfillment centers.”

Arnold worked on the design for the past year with a group in Zeeland. They developed a proof of concept, first iteration and made changes. Arnold submitted his patent application in October, and has a year to make changes to the design.

Credit: WZZM
An up-close look at the Nessie scanning and crushing a can.

In addition to holding demonstrations at business offices, Arnold recently pitched his idea at a 5x5 Night event in Grand Rapids.

This past weekend, Arnold partnered with members of the West Michigan Storm girls soccer team to try out and spread information about the appliance. Proceeds from the team’s can drive collection will be used to help West Michigan families during the holiday season.

Arnold expects Nessie to launch next summer. It would be available for residents to pay a yearly lease between $30 and $50. Residents must also participate in a curbside recycling program in order to lease the appliance.

While Arnold plans to launch the device in Michigan, he said it could be used in homes and businesses in any state where there’s a deposit refund for cans and plastic bottles.

With the cans still being recycled through the curbside service, Arnold said the appliance still meets the goal of Michigan’s bottle bill to clean up the environment.

“It just makes recycling and adhering to the Michigan deposit law easier for people,” he said.

For more information, visit nessiesolutions.com.

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