Incentives help to nearly double recycling rates
IN THE NEWS | October 17, 2014

Incentives help to nearly double recycling rates

New research from recycling rewards scheme Greenredeem has today revealed how local authorities that introduce recycling incentives tend to have higher recycling rates than those that fine households for not recycling.

The research, which covers the period from 2009/10 to 2013/14, reveals how local authorities in England that introduced recycling reward schemes saw dry recycling rates reach nearly 27 per cent, while those with compulsory recycling strategies recorded a rate of only 15 per cent.

The company said that focusing on dry recycling was the most effective approach for recycling rewards schemes, as almost all local authorities provide glass, plastic and cardboard recycling collections. It added that there was now consistent evidence that reward schemes achieve recycling rates that are almost double the level achieved by mandated schemes, with local authorities that adopted rewards in 2012/13 securing a rate of just over 19 per cent, compared with an 11.91 per cent rate for compulsory schemes.

"This research offers the evidence for local authorities that has so far been lacking: The carrot is more than twice as effective as the stick at improving dry recycling rates," said Rob Crumbie, communications director at Greenredeem, in a statement.

The company specialises in providing households with a points-based reward scheme, similar to retail reward cards, where people earn points by recycling that can be redeemed at local shops and service providers.

The government has backed the concept and the Department for Communities and Local Government recently announced a £5m Recycling Rewards Scheme Fund to finance more pilot schemes based on the recycling incentives model.

"We would encourage all local authorities, whether they plan an incentive-based scheme or not, to take up Eric Pickles' offer of the Recycling Rewards Scheme Fund," said Crumbie. "This research demonstrates that rewards programmes have a real impact on local dry recycling rates, as well as wider benefits for residents, local business and community causes. We would strongly encourage local authorities to adopt such schemes if they are serious about hitting the government target of a 50 per cent recycling rate by 2020."