The plastic bottles will soon be able to become bus tickets or checks for small businesses in Valencia. The capital of Turia is the largest city in Spain that has launched the pilot project Reciclos, a virtual currency to reward people who recycle plastic cans and bottles, which can then be exchanged for products or gifts. In them, public transport passes, vouchers to buy local food or even the possibility of allocating that money to entities that work with vulnerable groups, such as the Food Bank.
To obtain points and redeem them, citizens have to connect to the Reciclos webapp, scan the barcode on the container with your mobile and deposit it in one of the more than 3,700 yellow containers or in the hundred machines that will be installed in markets and other strategic points in the city, which will have mobile technology incorporated.
The objective, according to Mayor Joan Ribó, is “to reach the level of other large European cities that have already implemented deposit systems and packaging incentives.” “Is about reduce and reuse materials until they exhaust their useful life and minimize their impact on the planet by preventing waste from accumulating in our natural environment, ”Ribó stressed. An agreement to three in which the Valencia City Council, Ecoembes and the Generalitat join forces that was presented this Tuesday.
The deputy mayor, Sergi Campillo, stressed that “the most important novelty” and “the key to this system” is “to introduce the culture of incentives in recycling.” “One of the weaknesses of the recycling system in our country is that no one is harmed by not recycling,” also pointed out the head of Urban Ecology. «As the garbage bag is anonymous, it is not identified who places it in the container, it is not possible to positively discriminate against people who recycle correctly, and this is a handicap that we have in waste management ».
Along these lines, in addition to the rewards, «the next step will be a bonus on the domestic waste treatment fee, in line with the one developed in the network of ecoparks of the Valencian Community “, pointed out the councilor for Ecological Transition, Mireia Mollà. In fact, 400,000 Valencians got that bonus in 2019.
Mollà estimated the number of recycling machines associated with the project at 60 that will be installed in municipal markets and other strategic locations in the city and announced that in 2021 there will be a hundred “so that people get used to it, participate, be an incentive for those who already they are recycling and serve to educate and motivate those who are not contributing to recycling.
Valencia, with more than 790,000 inhabitants, is “The most populated city in Spain that has hosted this project”, assured the CEO of Ecoembes, Óscar Martín, “and it will be the first to implement it in a comprehensive way, applying technology both in all containers on public roads and in machines that we will install in transit centers.”
In all autonomy before 2023
This system of return of plastic bottles by economic incentive will be implemented in the Valencian Community before 2023, according to the councilor herself, in compliance with the obligations established in the new Circular Economy Law, a bill that will be presented before the end of the year.
Only this year have they been collected 13,886 tons of packaging in Valencia, which represent 18% more than in 2019 (11,724 tons) and 80% more than in 2015 (7,671 tons). Regarding the number of yellow containers distributed throughout the city, there are currently 3,756 units, 48% more than last year, while the budget for the collection of containers is 3.5 million euros, 23% more compared to 2019 (2.8 million euros) and 64% more compared to 2015 (2.1 million euros).
Awareness campaigns have also been increased and new systems have been established in waste management, such as brown containers for the collection of organic and the reorganization of the containers by islands to facilitate access and the separation of garbage. Furthermore, Valencia is the first city in Spain to have a system for recycling and reusing aluminum waste – such as coffee capsules – and light steel in yellow containers.