Taiwanese use new machines to exchange trash for cash

Residents of Taiwan's capital Taipei are using newly installed machines called "iTrash booths" to recycle cans and bottles in exchange for credit on their transportation smart cards.

The initiative seeks to promote recycling while also giving residents more flexibility in how they dispose of their household garbage.

The booths are about the size of vending machines and automatically compress the throwaways and contain odors while depositing payments onto the cards and issuing receipts. Each can collect around 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of cans and bottles, with plans to provide 10,000 units for the city of 2.67 million.

With little space for landfills and limited incineration options, crowded Taiwan has for decades required strict separation of paper, plastic, metal and kitchen scraps.

However, many residents must haul their waste to garbage trucks that circulate twice a day and keep the trash at home if they miss the trucks.

So far, feedback from the public has been positive, said city government Commissioner of Information and Technology Lee Wei-bin. "People can be in full control of their schedule, and they do not have to worry about storing garbage in their house," Lee said.