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‘The circular economy is easy’, says Rome’s mayor

In the Italian capital of Rome and in Ecuador’s port city Guayaquil people can now recycle plastic bottles in return for free rides on the city’s public transport system.

Dubbed Ricicli + Viaggi (‘Recycle + Travel’), the Rome scheme accepts PET plastic bottles which are collected and sent for processing. Machines at three metro stations in the city give out EUR 0.05 in credit for each bottle deposited, making a single EUR 1.50 journey worth 30 bottles.

PET eater

‘We are the first major European capital to present this innovation,’ Rome’s mayor Virginia Raggi proudly said at the launch of the recycling scheme. ‘A machine that eats plastic bottles and issues a credit with which to buy bus tickets. The circular economy is easy to do.’

Across the Atlantic

A collection scheme similar to the Rome initiative and aimed at combating pollution has been launched in Ecuador’s port city of Guayaquil where people can exchange plastic bottles for money to buy bus tickets. Passengers who use the city’s bus transit system queue at a newly installed machine, before unloading their plastic bottles for two cents each.

Major waste challenge

With 2.7 million inhabitants Guayaquil is the country’s most populous city and struggles with a huge waste problem. Guayaquil produces 4 200 tonnes of waste per day of which only 14% is recycled.

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