Written by Alex Malyshev on September, 4, 2019

Rewarding Recycling Can Help Save the Planet

The world is choking on trash. In 2016 alone, we generated 242 million tonnes of plastic waste, 300 times the weight of the Golden Gate Bridge.  

Most plastics and glass are not biodegradable or slow to decompose. Of all the 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic ever made, 79% is in the landfills and the world’s oceans. They will remain there for centuries and emit harmful gases that pollute the air. Plastics, unlike glass and metal, cannot be recycled infinitely without a loss in quality or purity. 

Governments around the world continue to introduce numerous schemes to incentivize people and businesses to be more sustainable by switching to reusable materials, consuming less, and reducing packaging. 

South Australia implemented a deposit-return scheme over 40 years ago to encourage the return of recyclable goods by charging an up-front deposit during purchase. Ten Australian cents are redeemed on a return of an empty container. In 2017, Over 76.9% containers were returned and $42 million paid back to the community. 

Other European countries use reverse vending machines to complement the deposit-return scheme. Norway implemented the program in 1972 and now 97% of plastic bottles are recycled. Financial rewards have successfully encouraged recycling in developed countries over several decades.

Gamification can help to make the program more interactive for new consumers, especially in countries new to the system. For every compatible container recycled using the machine, a customer can receive points on their personal cloud wallet. The more recycling they do, the more points they can receive. 

Points can then be exchanged for free public transport tickets or rewards at any participating businesses. On top of this, our API can be used to view the balance history and to transfer points to other cloud wallets. 

Recycling contests, challenges, and leaderboards for local neighborhoods can help get people together and motivate a sustainable way of life. With this functionality, a mundane recycling trip can turn into a rewarding experience. 

Everything starts with one person taking one step to make a difference. With incentives and innovations, doing the right thing can become easy. Let’s come together and transform our world into a better, more sustainable place.

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