The city of Rome is experimenting with a new way of incentivizing people to recycle plastic bottles: transit fare. For every bottle recycled, people receive five cents towards the cost of a public transport ticket.
Three test machines were unveiled earlier this week at metro stations. For every plastic bottle dropped off, passengers receive five cents through a scan on their phone. The money goes to passengers’ accounts in one of two partner apps – MyCicero or Tabnet – which they can then redeem for public transportation fare, according to the Associated Press.
“In a period in which cryptocurrency is talked about, we have plastic currency,” said the president of Rome’s transportation authority, Paolo Simioni. “Substantially, it’s a system in which one recycles, we build customer loyalty and citizens’ virtuous behaviour is rewarded.”
The city will test the plastic bottle recycling initiative for one year.
Rome is notorious for its congested streets and poor air quality, coming last in a 2018 Greenpeace ranking that scored 13 European capitals on the efficiency, safety and sustainability of their urban mobility.
Some 65 per cent of trips in Rome are made with motorized personal transport (cars or scooters), and only 29 per cent of trips are with public transport. In Paris, in contrast, just under 16 per cent of trips are made by car or scooter, 40 per cent with public transport.
The Greenpeace report also points out that while Rome’s public transport is quite cheap at just €1.50 for a single journey, parking for one hour is even cheaper.
Image credit: David McKelvey via Flickr