Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA) Director Raymond Tam Vai Man said last week that his bureau has bought about a dozen recycling machines for the collection of used plastic bottles which will come into use at different locations in the city before the end of the year, adding that his bureau has “provisionally” decided to export the collected bottles to Thailand for recycling.
Tam made the remarks while speaking to reporters in lao Hon Market Park on Saturday on the sidelines of a promotional campaign for the upcoming implementation of the government’s plastic carrier bag charge scheme.
In conjunction with the government’s Consumer Council (CC) and the Alliance for Common People Building Up Macau (API) — one of the city’s biggest community associations, the bureau organised the promotional campaign on Saturday morning, when DSPA officials, representatives of the council and the association as well as volunteers distributed promotional leaflets to residents and promotional posters to shops in lao Hon district. Macau’s retail outlets will be required to charge customers one pataca for each bag when the plastic carrier bag levy scheme gets off the ground on November 18.
The bureau told a press conference in April that it will install a new kind of machine to collect plastic bottles for recycling purposes at various venues across the city in phases.
DSPA officials said at that time that this kind of machine — different from the traditional plastic bottle recycling bins — can identify whether liquid has been removed from the bottle, expecting the first 10 machines to come into use in the third quarter of this year. The machines have been imported from Germany.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Tam said that the about a dozen plastic bottle recycling machines will be installed at locations often frequented by residents, after the Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) makes the final decision on the locations where the machines will be set up.
Tam said that after putting plastic bottles in the machine, a resident will get certain points under the bureau’s existing “FUN” programme, and he or she will receive a gift from his bureau after accumulating a certain number of points.
According to the bureau’s website, under the “FUN” programme, residents can get certain points in their respective accounts of the programme after depositing plastic bottles, metal cans or paper at designated locations. They can get eco products or supermarket coupons from the bureau after accumulating a certain number of points in their accounts.
Tam said that his bureau would not rule out the possibility of changing the method of rewarding residents who have put used plastic bottles into the machines, after the latter have been in operation for some time in the future, based on residents’ feedback. Tam said that for instance, giving cash to residents for putting their used plastic bottles into the recycling machines could be the method of rewarding them in the future.
So-called “reverse” vending machine are already in use elsewhere: instead of the user putting in money and getting out a product, he or she puts a product in and gets out a monetary value. Reverse vending systems are an automated way to collect, sort and handle the return of used drink containers.
According to the Macau Post Daily, Tam also said that the contractor will process and then export the plastic bottles collected from the machines for recycling, adding his bureau has “provisionally” decided that the collected plastic bottles be exported to Thailand for recycling there.