Reverse vending machines that allow commuters to recycle plastic bottles in exchange for subway credits will debut in Beijing subway stations later this month, The Guardian reported. Incom, a Chinese recycling firm, will install more than 100 of the machines that will deposit between 5 fen and 1 mao on commuter passes for each returned bottle. The machines could affect Beijing’s informal bottle collectors, who currently provide many of the 50,000 tons of bottles Incom processes each year. The company hopes that it can increase its revenue by buying directly from the public and through subsidies and advertising on the machines. Similar devices can be found in the US, Brazil, Japan and domestically in Shanghai. Some experts, however, are skeptical that the machines will be profitable in China where there is a less environmentally-conscious public and there is already a large and highly competitive bottle collecting industry.
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