Jurong to get five more vending machines to boost recycling

Residents in Jurong will soon have more vending machines offering vouchers in exchange for plastic drink bottles and aluminium cans.

Every 40 cans or 25 bottles deposited will result in 550 Grab reward points, the equivalent of $1 off their rides or food orders.

They will also receive a $30 voucher from energy supplier Ohm to offset their bill for every 50 cans or 32 bottles deposited.

The scheme is an expansion of a programme that has seen the National Environment Agency and F&N Foods install 50 vending machines islandwide between October 2019 and June last year.

Speaking to reporters at Yuhua Food Centre yesterday, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said the reward system incentivises people to recycle.

"We hope to use (these vending machines) as a trial... If it is successful, we can encourage other (districts) to do so and bring recycling facilities closer to people's homes and businesses," she added.

The vending machines are being installed at five locations, including Yuhua Food Centre, Pioneer Mall and Science Centre Singapore. The remaining two locations will be announced at a later date.

All five machines are expected to be up by the end of this month, said waste management provider Alba W&H Smart City.

Its chief executive Jakob Lambsdorff said: "Our goal is to raise awareness and increase recycling rates in Singapore. We want to roll out a lot more reverse vending machines in Singapore, in the next few years."

After depositing their drink containers, users can scan a QR code displayed on the machine with a mobile app to redeem vouchers.

Ms Fu said to get people to recycle properly, it is important to identify the right locations.

"(The location) has to be convenient for the users as well as the collectors," she said.

"Very often, the location may be good in that there is very high footfall, but it may not be easily accessible for big trucks to collect the waste, for example.

"We also hope people will recycle properly by removing the remnants and keeping the bottles clean."

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.