Reduction with micropayments

The environmentalists have taught us the three Rs.


  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle

Reduction makes us think about unnecessary items, such as packaging. Packaging is useful to protect items we purchase and to advertise the contents of the product.

Micropayments is a trend in consumer behaviour. Advancement in payment systems makes it common-place to purchase low-value items electronically.


Let’s say I want to purchase one litre of cooking oil. My only choice is to purchase a plastic bottle along with my oil. This is because there is no reasonable means to transport the oil from the supermarket to my home. Taking my old bottle for a refill doesn’t help, because oil is not sold on tap. This is because the cooking oil vendor has a barcode stamped on the bottle in order to collect payment. To persuade the vendor to sell me his oil on tap I need to replace the barcode with something else.

This is where micropayments can help. With an Near Fields Communication device (NFC) attached to a dispenser the point of sale and collection can be combined. Oil can now be purchased from the dispenser using any container of my choice. Given this option, I would choose to Reduce the number of plastic bottles going from my home to landfill 🙂



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