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When In Rome: Exchange Plastic Bottles For A Ride On The Metro

All roads lead to Rome, meaning a lot of single-use plastic bottles have piled up there since the plastic bottle boom of the 90s. 

Now, metro riders can “Ricicli + Viaggi” or “Recycle + Travel” as a part of an eco-friendly program launched in July by Rome’s Mayor, Virginia Raggi. In exchange for every plastic bottle they recycle, riders can earn a €0.05 credit toward a metro ride. A ride costs €1.50, so if you’re looking to ride for free you’d need to collect and deposit 30 plastic bottles.

Italy’s Environment Minister, Sergio Costa, commented on the program saying, it’s always ideal to consume less single-use plastic and use reusable items instead. However, if plastic bottles are a necessity, having them recycled is a step in the right direction. 

A recent study reported that Italians drink more bottled water per capita than any other European country. Every person consumes approximately 188 liters of bottled water every year, making recycling a major challenge. This program hopes to help solve this challenge. 

Source: Statista          Source: Statista

The trial program in Rome isn’t the first of its kind. In 2014 Beijing introduced a similar system and in 2018 Istanbul introduced “reverse vending machines,” allowing passengers to earn credit when they recycle a plastic bottle or aluminum can in the machine. In Surabaya, Indonesia, passengers can ride the bus in exchange for five plastic bottles. 

In the United States, 1,500 plastic water bottles are used every second. That’s a lot of plastic! Here at Final, we think reusable bottles are the best alternative to single-use plastic bottles. Especially as many U.S. cities have stopped recycling due to the rising costs. 

We wish we lived in a world that could stop using plastic bottles, like, yesterday. But for some people, bottled water is the only source of clean, safe drinking water. That’s why we need local recycling programs. Without them, plastic bottles will litter the environment or end up in landfills. Do you think U.S. cities could benefit from implementing a program like Rome’s “Ricicli + Viaggi?”