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Recyclables Traded for Bus Fare at Bus Stations in Rio d...

Recyclables Traded for Bus Fare at Bus Stations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

From October 19 to November 19, 2015, the city of Rio de Janeiro tested a machine that accepted recyclable materials in exchange for a bus pass. The machine was located in the Alvorada bus terminal of the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood, and sat next to the normal ticket windows. Upon depositing five pieces of waste for

Terminal Alvorada, Alvorada bus terminal of the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

From October 19 to November 19, 2015, the city of Rio de Janeiro tested a machine that accepted recyclable materials in exchange for a bus pass. The machine was located in the Alvorada bus terminal of the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood, and sat next to the normal ticket windows. Upon depositing five pieces of waste for recycling, the user was given a prepaid RioCard loaded with R$ 3.40 -- the value of a one way trip.

This idea already exists in other Brazilian cities, such as São Paulo [we’ve blogged about a similar product from Pernambuco], but was tested in Rio thanks to initiatives brought by Rio +. The objective of Rio + is to bring together citizens to brainstorm creative and innovative ideas for solutions to some of the city’s problems. The crowdfunding company Benfietoria entered in a partnership with the city to provide financial support and to oversee the execution of the idea. Twelve other initiatives were also selected at Rio +, which received 1,600 proposals between 2013 and 2014.

The machine was activated when the passenger typed in their CPF number (Brazilian taxpayer identity number) and deposited their waste for recycling. They then received the prepaid card which could be reloaded later, or exchanged for R$ 1. Each individual could receive up to two RioCards per day.

Terminal Alvorada, Alvorada bus terminal of the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The machine accepted plastic (PET) packaging, aluminum cans, and packaging from Natura products, who is sponsoring the project. All of the deposited material was collected and brought to the recycling facility by the organization ONG Doe seu Lixo.

The project was in a testing phase and made a limited number of cards available. The machine operated daily between 7 AM and 7 PM until November 19, 2015.

Ideas that stimulate recycling and work with a counterpart to provide a benefit to the population are important in changing our habits and in building awareness about the environment. The co-founder of Benfeitoria, Murilo Parah, hopes that the project will “change people’s routines when it comes to trash collection.” Now we can hope to see the machine pass its testing phase and be installed in the entire city.

What are some of the creative recycling solutions your community has implemented? Should local governments consider partnering with private companies to implement them? Share your thoughts and city’s stories in the comments area below.

Original articles, originally published in Portuguese, here and here.

Credits: Data and images linked to sources.

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Anna Petrone is a transportation engineering masters student at the University of Maryland, with a Bachelor in Math and Economics. Her interests lie in transportation projects located in developing countries, particularly in South America. She took a...

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