In Beijing, You Can Pay For Train Rides With Plastic Bottles


Across the world, there are many ways to encourage recycling. Tax breaks, virtual points, deposit payments–there’s no shortage of ideas. Recently, we even came across a machine in Istanbul that gives out dog food in return for a bottle or two.


Beijing is now taking its own approach by giving free train rides and mobile phone top-ups to people redeeming used plastic. Machines in 34 locations take bottle deposits and calculate their worth, issuing a credit to the person’s mobile account or transit pass. Sensors scan the bottle’s weight and composition, then prompt users to choose their option.

See more in the TV report here:

The company behind the machine, Incom, already recycles more than 15,000 tons of bottles a year. But it has to compete against numerous informal pickers, who scavenge the streets and go door to door.

The machine may be a good of way of raising awareness and putting a value to a precious commodity. But its impact may be marginal, because China already has a flourishing PET-plastic recycling industry.

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Photo © SeDmi via shutterstock