Householders throughout England are to be offered rewards for recycling more of their rubbish and cutting down their waste, with many local authorities offering prize draws, cash rewards and community gifts starting this month.
According to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, some 50 schemes across the country will test and monitor the success of various approaches designed to encourage people to recycle and reduce waste output.
Combinations of personal rewards for regular recycling (including cash awards, prizes and discount vouchers for shopping and local leisure facilities) are being offered by various local authorities. Others will run recycling lotteries and league tables, while text messages, scratch cards will be tested by others. In some cases schools and charities will be rewarded financially for extra recycling activities while, in other cases, entire communities will be rewarded with cash for setting up and improving local recycling schemes.
Local Environmental Quality Minister, Ben Bradshaw, said: "I hope that the schemes will not only encourage regular recyclers to recycle more, but will help to engage with people who have yet to start recycling regularly. Getting people to change their behaviour is a challenge, and recycling is no exception. While there are millions of dedicated recyclers, there are still many families and people who have yet to start."
The department's aim is to find new ways of encouraging non-recyclers to start recycling, and to help regular recyclers by making it easier for them to fit recycling into their busy everyday lives. For example, residents in East Riding will be able to sign up for text messages reminding them to put their recycled waste out on the evening before their collection day.
And residents who register their mobile phone numbers will be entered into a monthly prize draw, with prizes worth 500, such as holiday vouchers, mountain bikes and even cash. The 6-month pilot project in East Riding is designed to assess whether or not text messages will encourage and motivate residents who would normally forget to put out waste for recycling.
Prizes and pledges
Crewe and Nantwich Borough Councils will be entering regular recyclers in social housing into weekly prizes draws with two 1,000 prizes, to encourage more recycling in an area with a traditionally low participation level.
Meanwhile, in participating schools in Lancashire, primary school children will earn free vouchers for leisure facilities, as well as equipment for their school, by encouraging their friends and family to pledge to recycle. The more pledges received and rubbish recycled, the more points available to the participating schools which they can cash in for school equipment, from computers to sports equipment. For every three pledges a pupil attracts, they will receive a voucher providing free entry into local leisure facilities, like swimming pools. Top performing pupils in each school will be awarded a prize at the end of the 5-month trial.
Finally, according to a report in the UK's Telegraph newspaper, some consumers in Cheshire will even be offered points toward Asda supermarket shopping vouchers, with regular statements encouraging them to continue their efforts.