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Source: Twitter

Malaysia Looks To Improve Its Recycling Rate With New Incentives

By Brian Spaen

Malaysians are combating single-use plastics with two initiatives designed to increase recycling rates. Throughout the country, vending machines are being installed that trade gold for recyclable plastic and cans. And Tesco stores in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur are rolling out reusable shopping bags with barcodes that provide customer discounts. 

HelloGold is a tech company based in Kuala Lumpur that came up with the idea for a reverse vending machine. Similar to kiosks where people can swap old mobile devices for money, HelloGold machines will trade gold for single-use plastic or cans (about 25 cents per item). 

Here's how it works. First, you download HelloGold's mobile app on your Android or iOS devices. Then, anytime you have a piece of recyclable, single-use plastic or a soda can you can put it into one of HelloGold's kiosks. The app keeps track of the credits you earn, which can be redeemed as coins, cash, or even gold bars. HelloGold plans to install 500 machines across Malaysia by the end of this year. The company is also expected to expand to countries like Singapore and South Africa that have major carbon footprints.