Redbox, Coinstar Kiosks Now Serving a Side of Sustainability

redbox_kiosk_momThe company that brings us Redbox, Coinstar, Rubi coffee, and ecoATM electronics recycling kiosks recently released its 2012 CSR report. When Nicole Trimble, senior director of corporate responsibility, started working for Outerwall Inc. three years ago, there wasn’t a sustainability program in place, she told TriplePundit. “I had to start from complete scratch. There weren’t even recycling bins,” she said. “I really had a blank slate and low hanging fruit.” In just three years, the company has come a long way.

Three years ago, Outerwall set goals for GHG emissions reductions: five percent by 2012 and 15 percent by 2015. The company’s GHG emissions actually grew by eight percent. However, when the company measured its emissions relative to the number of kiosks it deployed, it found out that it actually reduced its emissions by 20 percent in 2012, beating its goal by three years. One of the ways that the company reduced its GHG emissions was through encouraging new driving habits. Almost two-thirds of its carbon footprint comes from the transportation needed to service its kiosks, including company owned and operated vehicle fleets and employees’ vehicles used for business driving and third parties who service its kiosks.

Improving fuel efficiency and reducing energy use is a big focus

Driving routes were optimized to include the shortest amount of distance and least amount of traffic. Just keeping Redbox kiosks updated requires weekly visits. The Redbox logistics teams focused on route optimization last year and decided which kiosks should be visited, the order they should be visited and the most efficient route to travel between visits which saves fuel and reduces the environmental impact of the fleet. Through route optimization, Redbox reduced the miles driven per kiosk by 36 percent compared to 2010. The number of kiosks serviced grew by 50 percent during this time, but the total miles driven increased by 10 percent.

Replacing its fleet with more fuel efficient vehicles is part of Outerwall’s plans to reduce its carbon footprint. The Redbox fleet department implemented a plan to replace passenger fleet SUVs with sedans over time, which helped increase average fuel economy by 19 percent. Coinstar continues to expand its use of the Toyota Prius, which makes up 64 percent of the passenger cars in its fleet. Outerwall tried replacing a diesel truck with a hybrid truck in one market in 2012, but it didn’t work out. Trimble said that hybrid trucks didn’t show the environmental benefits or savings the company wanted. The company remains open to new ways to increase fuel efficiency. “We have been looking into fuels and fleet opportunities,” Trimble declared.

Outerwall also is committed to reducing the energy use of its kiosks by five percent per kiosk by 2012 and 15 percent by 2015. Unfortunately, the company didn’t meet its 2012 goal because the energy use across its fleet of kiosks increased by four percent, mostly caused by the growth in outdoor Redbox kiosks. However, the company is taking steps to reduce energy use on each new outdoor Redbox kiosk by switching to LED lightboxes, swapping an air conditioner for a more efficient air exchanger, and installing timers on some indoor lightboxes. A redesigned Redbox outdoor kiosk has been deployed since mid-2012 and uses 20 percent less energy than the previous model.

Outerwall strives to become an industry leader

Outerwall is a $2 billion company with a big reach. As Trimble puts it, “There are more Redboxes than Starbucks and McDonald’s combined.” Outerwall hopes to become an industry leader in the environmental and social sectors. Trimble thinks that the company can indeed become an industry leader because executives are committed. “Our CEO is incredibly committed to both.” Plus, sustainability is built into the company’s business model. Outerwall’s kiosks are already where people are, so it reduces trips for people, which reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Outerwall relies on its retail partners. “So many of our retail partners have made big sustainable strides,” Trimble said. Nine of their 10 top retail partners have sustainable goals and many are industry leaders.

Photo: Outerwall

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by

2 responses

  1. Interesting to see how a company this big deals with sustainability issues. The article mentions how weekly visits are made in order to keep the boxes up to date… I am assuming this means up to date with the latest movies, but I’m wondering why weekly trips are necessary. In order to get the movies into consumers hands on time, studios send their DVDs weeks in advance to distributors. So couldn’t trips to Redbox be cut in half if they would just put the new releases in every two weeks and for those movies that are not supposed to be out yet, just have it say “coming soon” and have it set to not be available to rent until the real release date.

    I feel like this is an easy step for Outerwall to take.

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