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5 countries where recycling is good news

Stories of litter and pollution are making the front page almost everywhere at present, it seems. Trash is literally filling our TV and smartphone screens with images of negative and harmful environmental impacts. So, in this SustMeme Guest Post, Research Specialist with No 1 Junk Street, Tom Simpkins sets off on a virtual world tour in search of some good news, exploring new eco-friendly approaches to plastic pollution, recycling methods and waste management in five countries around the globe.

With each passing day, we are realising just how vital recycling is to many industries and countries, all seeking new solutions to the likes of plastic pollution and excess waste. Whether it’s entrepreneurs creating robots that suck up ocean pollution, or companies unlocking the chemical composition of feedstocks for reprocessing, innovation is in demand.

Yet, whilst new materials, technologies and professional approaches are undoubtedly helping recycling rates creep up, one percentage-point at a time, we are still crying out for further advancements and faster progress.

Recent events have shown just how badly plastic pollution has been managed by countries including the US, Japan and even the UK. Their unwanted trash has now been rejected and returned by nations such as Malaysia, who are now no longer prepared to accept the monumental task of handling and recycling the world’s rubbish.

This failure on the part of global producer societies to manage their own waste responsibly begs the question of whether or not there is any hope for ways to properly clear our junk.

This is why No 1 Junk Street began to reseach the standout approaches to the waste problem emerging elsewhere around the world — digging into how innovative companies, communities and individuals are helping countries handle an over-abundance of trash and discovering treasure in the new ways found to boost recycling.


Colombia’s Ecobot, for example, has managed to make recycling an appealing activity by offering rewards for doing the right thing. Using a reverse-vending model, people interact with the Ecobot by inserting recyclable materials, such as cans and bottles, into the unit. The Ecobot then stores their deposits and provides coupons or vouchers for restaurants, shops and even services such as Uber rides. Created by Santiago Aramburo, Ecobot was designed in the hope of improving the country’s lowly 17% average of garbage being reprocessed

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