This Man Turned Recycling Into A Game An Entire City Became Obsessed With

*six-two 35 under 35 changemakers of 2018 - six-two picks

What would make you recycle? We all know we should, but sometimes it seems like too much effort. But if you could win prizes for recycling, you’d be collecting your bottles religiously, right? Camilo Jimenez realised this was the push people needed and he created a big change in Latin America because of it.

At only 22, Camilo has been nominated for six-two’s 35 under 35 initiative in the six-two picks category for his inspiring work in eco-friendly (and fun) solutions to a worldwide problem. In Latin America only 18 percent of daily waste is recycled. Camilo knew this was a problem, so he started a company called ECOPUNTOS that ‘gamified’ recycling and allowed people to earn points which can be used towards prizes, in exchange for recycled material. Check out how it works in the video below:

Camilo is proof that an idea can make a difference and age means nothing when you have drive. Telling Huffpost about his success, he says that an element of it is the social factor – people want to do good and are more likely to do it for rewards and when others are watching: “ECOPUNTOS makes a game out of recycling. The stands will automatically detect the material and the quantity of elements recycled. In exchange for this activity people will receive cumulative credits and a measurement of how much CO2 has been reduced for recycling at ECOPUNTOS. Credits earned and environmental indicators achieved will be recorded through social networks.”

“Camilo possesses this uncanny ability to see something good even in something as bad as trash, and turn it into something that would benefit not just the environment, but the community in general as well.” - The Xtraordinary

Good behaviour breeds good behaviour. ECOPUNTOS started in Camilo’s local Bogota, Colombia, and is now in more than 7 countries in Latin America with 1.2 million registered users. Camilo says he has seen people walk long distances and stand in queues just to recycle their bottles and cans to win prizes for preserving the environment. Sponsored by 16 companies who can on-sell the recycled materials, ECOPUNTOS has won many awards for innovation and is praised for its sustainable approach to an everyday problem.

It’s a genius solution that’s sparked a recycling revolution in countries where only a tiny portion of the population recycles. Similar programs are being rolled out in other countries like Australia and it’s wonderful to see a modern approach applied to waste reduction.

To learn more about the six-two 35 under 35 initiative, and to see the individuals who made the list, head here.