PHAI Questions “Hidden Costs” of School Vending Machines
The Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) has issued a June 7, 2012, fact
sheet calling on school districts to consider the energy costs of cold beverage
vending machines when deciding whether to renew vending contracts.
Claiming that a traditional vending machine consumes approximately 3,000
kilowatt hours of electricity per year (kWh/yr), the fact sheet estimates that
schools spend an average of $313 in annual energy costs per machine.
“When multiplied over a total number of machines housed on school
property, the electricity cost required to operate cold beverage vending
machines amounts to a significant hidden expense for schools that should be
subtracted from school beverage vending revenue,” argues PHAI, which has
also provided a breakdown of vending machine energy costs by state.
As an example, the fact sheet thus calculates that a large California school
district with 225 traditional vending machines would accrue $477,000 in
electricity fees over five years. To ameliorate these “hidden costs,” PHAI urges
schools to save energy by either phasing out machines altogether or reducing
their number on school property. It also recommends that districts insist on
installing only the most energy-efficient machines or require the beverage
company that owns the machines to pay electricity costs.
PHAI is affiliated with Northeastern University School of Law and headed by
law professor and anti-tobacco advocate Richard Daynard.