When in Rome: Swap Plastic Bottles for a Free Subway Ride

If you ever find yourself in Rome and travelling from the Termini train station to the Vatican, don’t forget to pick up a few plastic bottles along the way to pay for your ticket.

Rome is testing a new method where a subway ticket can be paid with plastic bottles. The capital of Italy has launched this year-long trial of the program called Recycle + Travel at three of their subway stations.

With this program, commuters can deposit plastic bottles for five euro cents, each. Then, they can use this money to pay for the ride.

Will this program persevere?

Collect Plastic Bottles & Get a Free Ride in Rome Subways

Until the cents accrue the price of a metro ticket, which is currently 1.5 Euros, you’ll need 30 bottles. This means that there will be 30 bottles less polluting the streets of the Eternal City.

After the trial is done; Rome will discuss and review the results and see if the program is worth expanding to other subways.

Even though this is certainly a clever move, Sergio Costa, Italian Environment Minister, said in a Facebook post that the ideal thing is to consume less plastic and choose reusable bottles.

However, he adds that if you still buy plastic bottles, it’s better to trade them for a ride in the subway than to pollute the city with it.

Will a Ban on Plastic Happen in Italy?

Virginia Raggi, the Mayor of Rome, promised a ban on single-use plastic and explained that this project is the first of its kind.

There was a similar one in Istanbul’s subway. They have reverse vending machines at their metros since 2018. The passengers add credit to their subway cards when they recycle a plastic bottle or aluminum can in the machine.

In Surabaya, Indonesia, the commuters can replace 5 plastic bottles to purchase bus tickets.

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