Amsterdam is a bicycle-loving metropolis. Around 60% of trips around the inner city are done on a bike, making its claim to be an environmentally-friendly capital substantial. Their Green Coin Initiative further bolsters that assertion.

Starting off as a pilot project in Amsterdam’s Noord District, residents are rewarded for recycling their plastic items with green coins. These green coins can then be used as currency in a variety of local businesses. Wasted, the company responsible for managing the scheme, see it as a way for residents to turn their “trash into treasure.”

Businesses, communities and individuals can avail of the scheme. A person or household signs up to the scheme and receives specially-designed refuse bags. The bags are filled with plastic and returned to Wasted. Customers receive a number of green coins depending on the amount of bags they fill.

Businesses and community groups have their plastic picked up by Wasted. In exchange, they accept green coins from participating customers as currency for their goods or services.

Green Coin customers can avail of a number of goods and services varying from bike repair and yoga lessons with a flexible discount to free coffee and cheap grocery shopping. There are plans to make the currency digital this year.

The plastic collected by the company is used as their laboratory’s main input. It is then used for a number of purposes from reusable building blocks and furniture to stands at local markets and playground equipment.

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