“In a period in which cryptocurrency is talked about, we have plastic currency,” said ATAC President Paolo Simioni, according to the NY Post. “It’s a system in which one recycles, we build customer loyalty and citizens’ virtuous behavior is rewarded.”
Sergio Costa, Italy’s Environment Minister, also commented on the trial. “The ideal is to consume less disposable plastic,” Costa wrote in a Facebook post, as translated from Italian by Google Translate. “But in case of necessity … from today in Rome we can exchange our empty bottles with tickets of the ATAC.”
As Costa points out, reducing our consumption of plastic is more important than recycling — that’s why “reduce” comes before “recycle” in the three R’s of recycling, after all. But for those who still buy plastic drink bottles from time to time, Ricicli + Viaggi is certainly a good incentive to make sure they actually recycle their bottles, and don’t just put them in the trash.
Even better, the machines could be a motivation for people around Rome to pick up littered bottles that they find on the street or the train tracks, and use them to build up metro credit. And considering Italy’s reputation for having extreme plastic pollution, perhaps this initiative will encourage locals to clean up their communities.
According to The Local, the recycling machines are currently in a year-long trial. If ATAC authorities deem the project to be successful, they will expand it to other metro stations — if not, they’ll scrap it.
So to any Roman readers out there, make sure to take advantage of Ricicli + Viaggi next time you pass by one of the participating stations.