Increasing recycling through incentives

Offering incentives to residents to encourage them to recycle could be more effective than punishing them for not recycling, according to the Local Government Association.

The body’s new report, “Wealth From Waste”, offers recommendations to the Government on promoting a thriving market through increasing recycling and reuse. One area focuses on the central role that citizens have played in boosting recycling rates; yet whilst this has happened, it argues, people have been paying more to have their waste bins collected.

At present, the landfill tax, which local authorities have to pay – using money that comes from taxpayers – is £80 per tonne. The rate has increased considerably in the past five years, and, during this time, household recycling has also increased. Vice Chair of the Local Government Association’s Environment and Housing Board, Clyde Loakes, said:

“Residents have played their part. By helping us recycle more and more every year they are helping councils save money on the cost of processing the bins, yet they are being punished, not rewarded, because of the crippling rate rises in landfill tax.”

Rather than continuing to raise the landfill tax, it is argued, it could be a better course of action for this tax to be frozen and for better recycling systems to be put in place. As part of the improvements, vouchers would be offered to people as a reward for recycling. Rates of recycling would rise, jobs would be created, and revenue would be generated.

Recycling Lives has previously reported on examples of voucher schemes and other incentives to promote recycling, and we approve of such schemes. We believe that recycling should be the norm, and to get to the stage at which it becomes second nature, people need to be rewarded for recycling – as well as to be educated about it.

These schemes offer local authorities the opportunity to raise awareness of recycling and why it is so vital. People are far more likely to listen and adopt sustainable practices into their own lives if they can get something in return. Plus, such voucher schemes help the local economy – with our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, we think this is great!

Waste is a valuable resource that creates jobs and adds social value to the community. Recycling Lives understands this, as does the LGA’s Clyde Loakes:

“There is clearly wealth in waste. The UK’s waste and recycling sector is currently worth around £11 billion and growing at twice the rate of the rest of the economy, but there is so much more we could do to make the most of this booming industry.”

At Recycling Lives, we also sustain charity through reuse and recycling. Our commercial activities fund a social welfare charity that helps homeless people to find accommodation and work, and go on training courses to boost their skills. When they move on from the charity, they are able to continue on their pathway to independence and achieve success.

It is clear that society benefits from reuse and recycling, and we hope the LGA’s recommendations are given serious consideration!