Innovation That Matters

Rewards scheme turns local waste into plastic blocks for community projects


Wasted is a community project that lets citizens exchange their plastic waste for local rewards, and recycles the rubbish into versatile building blocks.

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Global waste is such a massive issue that it can often feel like individual consumers’ efforts to recycle and reuse are futile. WASTED is a project which hopes to dispel that myth by developing a local solution to the global problem of plastic waste. The project — run by CITIES Foundation — recently launched their pilot scheme in Amsterdam Noord.


WASTED is a three-part system which combines recycling, community development, design and education. The core of the project involves recycling local plastic into versatile ‘Blocks’ during volunteer workshops, which are then used to build objects such as benches, planters and stages for use within the community. The ‘Blocks’ are made from plastic waste donated by local residents, who receive reward tokens that can be used to redeem offers at local participating businesses, including free beers, discounts on groceries and 50 percent off of bike repairs.


Individuals, collectives and schools can also take advantage of a free educational package which teaches participants about plastic, upcycling and how to reprocess locally recycled plastic waste. The pilot scheme in Amsterdam Noord has seen great success with 231 participating citizens, 23 local businesses, nearly 2000kg of plastic collected and the potential to build over 800 blocks. CITIES have created various open source resources to help people launch further schemes in other neighborhoods. What other forms of waste can also be reused in educational, community-building ways?



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