Singaporeans now have greater incentive to recycle.
Special Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) have been installed island-wide in a collaboration between the National Environment Agency (NEA) and food and beverage giant F&N.
The initiative is supported by NTUC FairPrice.
Instead of typically allowing users to exchange cash for drinks and snacks, these smart vending machines swap recyclables for supermarket vouchers.
Launched on Oct. 31, 2019, the initiative aims to curb the production of packaging waste.
Members of the public can drop in their used and empty aluminium drink cans and plastic bottles, and for every four receptacles deposited, they will receive a S$0.20 FairPrice discount voucher.
These vouchers can be used at any FairPrice outlet.
The machines only accept aluminium cans and plastic bottles, and do not accept glass bottles.
The initiative also aims to encourage Singaporeans to recycle more by offering them a "convenient and rewarding way" to do so, according to an NEA press release.
Thus far, the first batch of 10 "Recycle N Save" vending machines have been placed in various shopping malls island-wide, such as Our Tampines Hub, AMK Hub, NEX, Jurong Point and Paya Lebar Quarter.
Some 40 more machines will be progressively rolled out by March 2020.
You can find out the locations of the vending machines here.
The RVMs employ pretty advanced technology to identify, sort and collect the used drink receptacles.
Not only are the machines able to accept plastic bottles of up to two litre-capacity, a compactor within compresses the cans and bottles to save space.
With this, the vending machines are able to hold up to 600 cans and bottles.
Once the machine is full, an alert will be sent to the headquarters, and the cans and bottles collected in it will be accumulated with other recyclables generated by the shopping mall, reported The Straits Times.
With a database of barcodes of over 1,000 drinks on the market, the machine is also able to identify various types of plastic bottles.
Members of the public have to ensure that the cans and bottles deposited are empty, as the smart machine will reject receptacles that are 20 per cent heavier than the empty bottle's weight.
Currently, not all plastic bottles are accepted as the machine is unable to recognise some barcodes.
However, F&N stated that they are working to add more barcodes to the database.
Top photo from Seah Kian Peng / FB and recyclensave.sg
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