In an attempt to green one of the world’s longest-standing cities, 41 automated recycling machines will be installed in Alexandria, Egypt, by GreenTec, in a bid to encourage and reward citizens who recycle plastic bottles and aluminium cans.
After placing recyclables inside the machine, users receive a receipt that contains “reward points.” The project was financed by a grant from the European Union, the CEO of the company Awad Osman says.
GreenTec has already installed two machines in Alexandria, one in City Center mall and another in Semouha area. The rest of the machines will be located in Alexandria University, the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport and some public schools as well as other public spaces.
“After collecting a certain number of points, a user can come and exchange the points with a gift,” Osman adds. ” The new machines will all be connected to one another so users can recycle anywhere and redeem their points. The rewards include mobile phone credit and story books for children. Points can also be donated to several charity groups.”
The company, which started its operations three years ago, is the first company in Egypt that uses technology in collecting solid waste and compresses the size of recycled bottles by almost 90%. It also states that it is the first to compensate people for disposing their waste rather than paying money against such service.
“We hope to include the transport tickets in our reward system,” Osman says, explaining a vision where points can be exchanged for tram tickets in the Mediterranean city. “We also hope we will be able to install the machines in 87 consumer complexes and connect them to customers’ food subsidy cards, who can then exchange them for essental products.”
The company will install a rewarding recycling machine in City Center Maadi in Cairo, Osman adds, highlighting that some corporate companies in Cairo, such as Lafarge, already have them inside their headquarters, without the reward system.
Egypt has long been plagued with waste collection problems, since a 2003-government ruling handed the contracts to foreign companies unfamiliar with the way of life across the country, limiting the work of zabaleen – a coalition of more informal garbage collectors – which the country had relied on prior. A 2011 World Bank report explained that Egypt loses “0.4-0.6 per cent of its GDP due to the inefficiency of solid-waste policies and because only 60 per cent of the waste produced in Cairo is actually ‘collected’.”