Commuters in Rome can now earn public transport credits by recycling plastic bottles.

Travel News - Virginia Raggi tests the new technology. The Mayor of Rome
Mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi at the launch of the recycling scheme at San Giovanni.

Following the introduction of a similar campaign in Istanbul, commuters in Rome can save cash and be a little kinder to the environment by swapping plastic for transit credits. At three stations in Rome - Cipro on the A line, Piramide on the B line and San Giovanni on the C line - commuters can recycle plastic bottles in reverse vending machines in exchange for credits that can be used towards bus and metro tickets.

People will receive a credit of five cents for each bottle recycled, meaning if they recycle 30 bottles they'll receive a standard €1.50 ticket. Bottles can be any size from 0.25cl to 2 litres. Once the bottles are pushed through the vending machine to be crushed and sorted, commuters will receive credits can be redeemed through the myCicero and Tabnet apps.

Travel News - Mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi presents the Atac campaign for
The campaign, presented by Virginia Raggi, is called called "+Ricicli+Viaggi"

The eco-friendly initiative, called Ricicli+Viaggi (Recycle + Travel) was launched on Wednesday by the Mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, on behalf of Rome's transport network Atac. The machines will be in place for a 12-month "test-phase." If they prove to be a success, authorities will expand the scheme.

Paolo Simoni, president of Atac, said that "in a period in which crypto-currency is talked about, we have plastic currency. Substantially, it's a system in which one recycles, we build customer loyalty and citizens' virtuous behaviour is rewarded."

Travel News - Italian Daily Politics 2019
Romans march for "dignity and public health - stop the waste emergency" in response to the city's waste management problem.

Italy is the fourth most-wasteful country in Europe, producing enough rubbish to fill the Colosseum over 12 times, according to a 2017 report by the consultancy group Expert Market. And Rome has been struggling to cope with a rubbish crisis for the past several years. Overflowing bins are a common sight and in the midst of a summer heatwave, doctors are warning they pose a serious health risk.

While the recycling scheme certainly isn't enough to stem the tide of rubbish in the Eternal City, it's certainly a step in the right direction. As Raggi said in a statement, "even small gestures are important."

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VENICE, ITALY - AUGUST 02: Gondoliers proceed slowly near the Sospiri Bridge near St. Mark's Square due to too much traffic on August 02, 2023 in Venice, Italy. UNESCO officials have included Venice and its lagoon to the list of world heritage in danger to review, along with Ukraine's Kyiv, and Lviv. The UN cultural agency deems Italy not effective in protecting Venice from mass tourism and extreme weather conditions. (Photo by Stefano Mazzola/Getty Images)

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