Rome has been fighting a losing battle with waste for many years. The city is home to three million people and does not operate its own waste incineration plant. Its authorities have previously been struggling with the issue more than they have actually been coping with it. People living in Rome, for instance, were in the past called upon to help keep the streets clean by installing home-composting systems on their balconies. Despite being charged the second highest waste-disposal rates in the country after Naples.
Now a new campaign has been launched to help keep at least some drinks bottles off the streets. The idea is for passengers to be given the opportunity to pay for their tickets with plastic bottles at selected underground railway stations.
BOTTLE RECYCLING FOR MOBILITY
They hope to turn plastic bottles into a recyclable resource with a value and thus help solve the waste problem in the Eternal City. Machines have been taking back plastic bottles with volumes ranging between 0.25 and two litres at three underground-railway stations in Rome since the end of July 2019. In return for the bottles, a smartphone app issues credits to passengers, which they can then use to purchase tickets for the underground railway and buses.
Five cents are paid for every bottle returned. Travellers in Rome are able to purchase a standard €1.50 ticket for 30 bottles. The city and – above all – its mayor Virginia Raggi want to tackle the serious challenges that waste presents them with in the city.
Plastics as currency
The 12-month test project that Atac – Rome’s public transport company – has launched under the heading of ‘Ricicli+Viaggi’ is not the first of its kind. Tickets are also being issued in return for bottles in Istanbul, Beijing, Sidney and Surabay in Indonesia. That means, as Paolo Simoni, who heads the transport company, said at the launch of the project, that crypto currencies are now being followed by plastic currencies.