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You can now trade plastic bottles for metro tickets in Rome

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You can now trade plastic bottles for metro tickets in Rome
Rome's famous Metro sign. Photo: Depositphotos
17:36 CEST+02:00
Machines have been placed at three Rome metro stations which allow passengers to “earn” public transport tickets by recycling their old plastic bottles, local authorites have announced.

The machines were placed in the Cipro station on Line A, Piramide on Line B and San Giovanni on Line C.

Each bottle recycled is worth the equivalent of five euro cents in points, meaning you need to recycle 30 bottles to accumulate enough points for ticket.

Points will be transferred to passengers through the My Cicero and TabNet apps, according to public transport authority ATAC.

READ ALSO: What is Italy doing about the shocking level of plastic pollution on its coastline?

The machines will be in place for a 12-month “test phase” after which authorities will decide whether to expand or dtch the scheme.

The “experimental project” was introduced in Rome on Wednesday, making the city the “first large European capital” to introduce such a scheme, city mayor Virginia Raggi said yesterday.

In a Facebook post, Environment Minister Sergio Costa pointed out that “the ideal thing would be to consume less single-use plastic and opt for reusable bottles,"

"But, if necessary, from now on in Rome you can trade in the bottles for ATAC tickets.”

Ministers also hoped the initiative could help reduce the number of people travelling without a valid ticket.

However, some passengers trying to use the new machines yesterday reported them malfunctioning.

Atac later said that the machines can become blocked if bottles are not inserted with the lid and label intact.

Back in March, Raggi promised a ban on single-use plastics would soon be introduced in the city as the council continues to grapple with the city's rubbish problem.

The council vowed to act after ncollected rubbish piled up in the streets again this summer.

Rome's garbage problems are chronic, spanning decades of dodgy contractors and mismanagement.

Things worsened further in 2013, when the city's sprawling Malagrotta dump was found to fall short of European standards and ordered closed.

The council has struggled ever since to find an alternative, and the city's refuse system regularly reaches crisis point in busy periods.

Rome is notorious for rubbish piling up even near iconic monuments. Photo: FIlippo Monteforte/AFP

While Rome's residents contiinue to vent their anger at politicians over the issue, Raggi insists the rubbish problem is created by organised crime gangs dealing in waste, known as "ecomafia".

She said a ban on single-use plastics in the city would help "starve" the ecomafia of its "food".

And her vow to end the current crisis and rid the city of its current piles of rotting garbage "within 15 days" - a promise made 15 days ago - doesn't seem to have worked out, as residents continue to protest over the state of their city.

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