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How countries around the world reward citizens for recycling

Recycling trash reward systems across the world (Representational image)

WION Delhi, India Oct 27, 2016, 07.44 AM (IST) WION Edge


According to the World Bank, 59% of the world’s trash is dumped in landfills. Almost half of this is organic waste. With global population and consumption increasing, there is growing pressure on waste disposal systems.

Here are some of the most innovative initiatives that have been launched to nudge people to think and act green:


Sydney launched the trial of two reverse vending machines that give out rewards for recycling empty plastic bottles and cans. The rewards range from anything like a bus ticket, to a draw to receive passes to the New Year’s Eve fireworks and so on.


The Bangkok Recycling Program (BRP) is an incentive-based program that brings together communities, local authorities and businesses to work towards a sustainable future. They have a performance tracking system for all recycling efforts. 


The country has initiated a recycling plan called ‘Garbage that is not garbage’. The programme encourages Brazilian citizens to recycle their trash. It rewards citizens with food, books and bus tickets for separating organic and non-organic waste for waste management systems. 


The Lion City has an online recycling rewards programme called ‘Grow Your Recycling Incentives Now.’ Under the initiative, recyclable trash is collected from flat and property owners in return for redemption points. Every kilogram of recyclable material collected can be used to redeem retail privileges or sponsored gifts.

PET bottle recycling in Singapore (Others)




Less than 1% of Sweden’s household waste ends up in landfills. The country follows a waste-to-energy process that utilises waste by segregating it into hazardous and recyclable types. It is then sent to waste management systems to produce energy. Sweden imports almost 800,000 tons of waste from neighbouring countries to process it into energy.


In Britain, local governments help families recycle by offering incentives like cash prizes and shopping vouchers. In Dover and Shepway, they have introduced a ‘reverse vending machine’ that distributes rewards in exchange for recycling.


Under the program Cans for Cash, a contest is held encouraging municipalities across the US to promote recycling practices within communities. The program offers cash prizes ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 for communities that put their best foot forward.

(Contributed by: Zeba Khan)

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