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Normally, vending machines suck in air to warm or cool the products they're selling. Japanese beverage giant Asahi is demonstrating they can simultaneously capture CO2. Inhaling the carbon dioxide that's exhaled by cars and people, a new type of vending machine is capable of storing the gas by locking it into an absorbent material until it can be processed centrally. Asahi is currently looking at converting captured CO2 into industrially useful raw materials such as fertilizer and concrete.
The CO2-munching machines will be trialed in the Kanto and Kansai regions starting June 2023, with a full rollout expected in 2024. Asahi is specifically targeting densely populated areas with high CO2 concentrations. While each machine's contribution might be modest, Asahi believes the cumulative effect — vending machines are omnipresent in Japan, after all — will have a significant environmental impact.
According to Asahi, the amount of CO2 each vending machine can soak up will offset up to 20% of the emissions generated in producing the electricity used to operate the machine. Annually, that equates to the carbon absorption capacity of 20 mature Japanese cedar trees.
The brand's initiative demonstrates how sustainability gains can be made at every step of business operations, from production to point of sale. Since the new line of vending machines will feature dedicated branding explaining the process, the concept also serves as an educational tool, enhancing public awareness about the urgent need to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
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