The cryptocurrency is helping to clean the coast of Uruguay

PIRIAPOLIS: On a hot summer day, Graciela Martínez weighs her plastic before throwing it in a designated container next to the beach. In return, you will receive some virtual money on your phone that you can use for discounts on purchases at restaurants or associated stores. It is part of a pilot environmental project called plasticoína aimed at promoting the recycling of plastic in the South American country.

Our mission is to take care of the beach, said Juan Rivero, a 34-year-old telecommunications technician who launched the new project along with 32-year-old industrial designer Nicole Wyaux. Your test area is a spa called. Participants register online and then deposit their plastic waste at one of three collection points. The minimum deposit is one kg, for which participants are rewarded with 100-400 plasticoins, depending on the type of waste: 100 for household waste, 200 for beach waste and 400 for less than half a cm. It's good to recycle for you, for your children and grandchildren, said Martinez, 50, who says he recycles everything.

Plasticine is delivered electronically to a mobile phone and can be used to obtain coupons and discounts at participating restaurants and stores. Plastic did not exist when the Piriápolis complex was built in 1893, inspired by the French cities of Biarritz and Nice. Now, however, 13 million tons of material are dumped into the world's oceans every year, according to the United Nations.

The Plasticoin project has been much more successful than its creators anticipated when it began in January with a $ 5,000 grant from a government development agency. They had hoped to attract 100 users in the first four months; In less than three weeks, they have almost a thousand.

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