Recycling To Travel: Italian Local Transport Project Wins Digitalisation Award


The Europe-wide Innovation in Politics Award in the category Digitalisation has been awarded to a project from Rome, “+Ricicli +Viaggi” – which means, the more you recycle, the more you travel. The project encourages a more sustainable lifestyle for its citizens by offering discounts on public transport tickets in exchange for recycling plastic bottles.

Bratislava, 27 January 2022 – Ten projects from Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Spain and Poland made it through as finalists in the 2021 Digitalisation category. The finalists and the winner were selected by a European jury of 1,032 citizens. The winning project, “+Ricicli +Viaggi”, was announced in an online event from Bratislava.

Swapping plastic bottles for train tickets

The public transport company, Atac, launched a digital and experimental recycling project. Citizens can now bring their plastic bottles (PET) to eight different subway stations in Rome to be recycled in exchange for reduced public transport costs. It is based on the concept of the circular economy: an economic system designed to be able to regenerate itself and guarantee its sustainability.

Customers need to download and register an app to benefit from the cash-back system. For each recycled bottle, the customer gets a discount of €0.05 on their transport ticket which they can purchase using the bonuses accumulated in the App’s wallet. 

The project has been very successful with an average of over 10,000 users per day and more than 4.5 million bottles recycled so far. This is the first such recycling system in Italy, and other similar systems are currently being developed across the rest of Europe. 

Eduard Heger, Prime Minister of Slovakia: “Sharing best practices is an expression of cooperation and I believe that cooperation is a cornerstone for innovation. Politics can support innovation by creating conditions in which science and research flourish. Thanks to science and research, we can find and apply data-driven solutions to the challenges of our time. This will make our societies more resilient and better equipped for the future. I am delighted that the Innovation in Politics Awards draw attention to innovation and promote sharing best practices to inspire political leaders across Europe.” 

Eugenio Patanè, Councillor for Mobility, City of Rome: “The +Ricicli+Viaggi initiative, the first of its kind in Italy and one of the few in the world, has quickly become a good habit for the citizens of Rome, one that is good for the environment, good for the waste cycle and good for public transport. The award received demonstrates once again that the Public Transport Company, of which Roma Capitale is a unique shareholder, is an extraordinary resource for the city of Rome: we will do everything we can to create the best possible conditions, so that it can carry out its mission and adopt technological and innovative solutions to serve the citizens”.

CEO of the Innovation in Politics Institute, Edward Strasser: Technology is at the centre of all our lives these days so it is vital that we find digital solutions to public problems. The winning project “+Ricicli +Viaggi”, has been recognised by the Citizens’ Jury for using an App to make recycling easy and giving people a financial incentive to live their lives more sustainably. Congratulations to the winners, and indeed all the finalists, for their cutting-edge digital work.”  

Award ceremonies in nine European cities

This year’s Innovation in Politics Awards are being celebrated as a pan-European series of events, taking place from December 2021 until February 2022 under the auspices of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, and the patronage of European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica.

The nine Awards categories are as follows: Community, Democracy, Digitalisation, Ecology, Economy, Education, Human Rights, Quality of Life, and COVID-19 Strategies.

The 2021 winner of the Innovation in Politics Awards for Digitalisation:

Italy: +Ricicli +Viaggi – The More You Recycle The More You Travel 

The 2021 Digitalisation finalists:

The events are supported by

  • H.E. Alexander Van der Bellen, Federal President of Austria
  • H.E. Eduard Heger, Prime Minister of Slovakia
  • H.E. Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe
  • H.E. Dubravka Šuica, European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography
  • Prof Jerzy Buzek, MEP, former President of the European Parliament and former Prime Minister of Poland
  • Allan Larsson, former Finance Minister of Sweden
  • Barbro Westerholm, MP, former Director General of the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare
  • Prof Jutta Allmendinger, President of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center
  • Antonio Rosati, CEO of EUR S.p.A.

About the Innovation in Politics Awards

The Innovation in Politics Awards recognise courageous and creative political projects in Europe. The aim of the competition is to identify the brightest minds in politics in Europe and present their solutions to other politicians across borders and party lines for inspiration. Over the past five years, citizens’ juries of 5,000 Europeans have selected 42 winners out of over 2,000 political projects. The Awards are run by the Innovation in Politics Institute in Vienna, Austria.

For more information:


Claire Clifford
Communications Manager
Innovation in Politics Institute