For more than two months now, in the streets of Bratislava’s Old Town district, there have been so-called hoops on the rubbish bins for depositing backed-up beverage packages, which a visitor to the Old Town would otherwise throw in the bin without returning such a package, i.e. a bottle or beverage can, to the back-up machine. The hoops are used to store exactly these packages. Our goal is to make them easily accessible to anyone who sees them not just as a waste, but as something that can help them in their difficult financial situation. An innovative idea? In Slovakia maybe yes, in the West hoops have been popular for several years.
How is the Second Chance project doing after two months?
We went to the streets to find out the answer to this question, with the aim of checking whether all 5 hoops are in place, whether they are not destroyed, damaged and especially how they are used by the neighbourhood. We expected that the project would serve as a help to homeless people, so right at the beginning of the project we established cooperation with the civic association Vagus, which tries to help and make life more pleasant for people on the street.
While checking the hoops, we noticed an elderly, good-looking gentleman moving from bin to bin, peering into the contents of the containers. This was a pensioner whose pension is very low due to inflation and price developments. The retired gentleman has free time to spare, but instead of sitting in front of the TV, he prefers to walk around the centre of Bratislava looking for beverage packages, which someone sees as waste, he sees as an opportunity to earn an extra 15 cents for each beverage package. We learned that almost every day he makes the same circuit as part of his walk and almost always manages to collect a few beverage packages. The pensioner also told us that since backups have been introduced in Slovakia, a lot of garbage bins have been damaged because people are rummaging through them carelessly looking for 15-cent plastic bottles or cans. In addition, they create a mess around the containers which they do not intend to clean up after themselves. The pensioner would welcome many more such hoops on the bins, and not only in the Old Town. The hoops make it easier for him to poke around in the containers with his wand and help in keeping order in the surroundings. “The hoops make it a much cleaner job,” he finally added.
Until today we thought that the hoops on the bins help only the homeless, but the reality is different and the hoops help others as well. In our country, there are still many people on the brink of destitution who can be helped by even a few unreturned beverage packages, and they do not have to be the homeless only. This fact confirmed to us that the work on this project was not in vain and the hoops have found their place in the society. Think about it after you finish your drink somewhere on a bench in the centre of any city in Slovakia. Do not throw your packaging in the bin, try to look around. It is possible that you will find someone for whom this beverage package will help improve their situation. We at ASEKOL SK believe that the Second Chance project will help those who need it the most and at the same time contribute to cleaner surroundings without littering the streets.