Beijing subway rewards riders for recycling

Beijing has introduced bottle recycling on one of its subway lines. For every empty plastic bottle they insert into the reverse vending machines, commuters receive between five fen and one jiao on their commuter passes.

Incom, which manufactures the machine, says that the technology is still in a trial stage but the company has big plans. “We plan to install 3, 000 such machines across the city,” said Incom deputy general manager Liu Xuesong. “They’ll expand to other subway lines, schools, residential areas, bus stops and shopping malls.”

One challenge is competition in the bottle-recycling business. reports that the machine will be competing with the subway’s scavengers and underground collection centers, but these are said to create more pollution. “Most bottles we use are made of PET, which means they’re recyclable,” said Liu. “But most informal PET recycling workshops re-use the plastic for cloths and toys. It creates water and land pollution, and it’s a waste of resources.” Link to full story in

Photo credit: Auntie P/Flickr


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