In experimental cities, it has been nicknamed ''The Golden Goat'' - a sophisticated trash compactor that eats aluminum cans and pays out money on the spot for the privilege.
Now, the Aluminum Recycling Corporation in Sherman Oaks, Calif., has arranged to lease about 150 of these automated Canbanks for installation in supermarket parking lots.
Manufactured by Golden Recycle Company in Golden, Colo., the automatons will accept crushed or noncrushed aluminum cans, singly or in bulk; and they will reject other metals.
An internal microprocessor weighs and pays, immediately - about 27 cents for 24 12-ounce cans at today's rate.
The compactors will fit in one parking space and can store about 3,000 compacted cans. When storage is filled, the unit reports this to a central headquarters; and it can call for servicing when needed, too.
Supermarkets will be paid rental for the site placement.