Beijing expands recycling rewards program

Plastic beverage bottles are the focus of new reverse vending machines.

August 20, 2014

The city government of Beijing has placed 34 reverse vending machines throughout the city offering mobile phone minutes or public transportation credits in exchange for empty plastic beverage containers.

According to a report in the Chinese-language Legal Evening News transcribed to English by the Pangea Today website, the 34 machines can provide a phone card rebate when users enter their phone numbers.

The first 10 such machines were placed within Beijing subway stations in late 2012. According to a 2012 news report published when the subway station machines were introduced, the reverse vending machines are manufactured by Beijing-based Incom Recycle Co. Ltd.

The reverse vending machines reportedly recognize the type of bottle being recycled and offer rewards commensurate to the types of bottles and number of bottles being fed to the machine.

The city government of Beijing says some 15,000 tons of plastic bottles per year are already recycled within the city, but that the reverse vending rewards machines are expected to “exponentially increase” that amount.

According to the Legal Evening News report, some of the new recycling machines are located close to major tourist destinations such as the Temple of Heaven, where as many as 60,000 people may pass the reverse vending machine each day.

Tourists and others who may have no interest in a transit pass or a phone card rebate can still feed their plastic bottles into the machine.