Provide refund for recycled bottles and cans

A man drinking water from a plastic bottle.
A man drinking water from a plastic bottle.PHOTO: REUTERS

Recycling is vital, as waste material has a negative impact on the environment, and undoubtedly reduces the risks of pollution, which can endanger lives.

When consumers purchase bottled or canned drinks or food items, biscuits and chocolates, they are paying for the container as well.

So why not have automated machines to refund the consumer the cost of the bottle or can whenever they return the used container? For example, if a can of Coke Zero costs $1.50, 10 cents can be refunded for a returned used can.

In some Western countries, like Germany and America, providing such refunds has encouraged citizens to recycle.


Recycling programmes can also help the needy. In Taiwan, for instance, Buddhist charity Tzu Chi Foundation provides free meals to the mentally ill and encourages them to collect used items such as bottles and cans and place them in allocated recycling bins.

Providing incentives to encourage people to recycle is good, as paying it forward helps to build a far better society.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 22, 2019, with the headline 'Provide refund for recycled bottles and cans'. Print Edition | Subscribe