ROME – In a bid to solve its chronic trash collection problem, Rome, the capital of Italy, has found a clever solution that offers free metro tickets to travellers who recycle plastic bottles.
The recycling machines, installed at three of Rome’s metro stations since July, have been so popular that more than 350,000 bottles have been recycled in a city known for its patchy and inefficient recycling programme.
Rome’s public transport company ATAC said the initiative will soon be extended across the network till July 2020, reported Reuters.
HOW IT WORKS
Commuters need to download an app onto their smart phones which registers the number of tickets they have earned on the basis of the number of bottles fed into the recycling machines.
One ticket valid for 100 minutes of travel will “cost” 30 bottles, which must be inserted into the machine with the barcode label so that the machines can read them and register them on the app.
The metro turnstiles can directly read the app on mobile phones, so that commuters participating in the initiative do not need to buy a normal paper ticket.
WHAT THEY SAY
The scheme has been welcomed by residents and tourists alike.
“If you use money to involve people (in recycling), even those who have no civic sense will recycle,” Rome resident Claudio Perelli told Reuters as he fed his bottles into one of the machines.
Rome is the first capital city in the European Union to launch the scheme in metro stations.
Similar schemes have already been adopted in Beijing and Istanbul.