November 2005

England households to be enticed to recycle with prizes and awards in a six-month pilot program

Millions of households across England will be tempted to recycle more of their rubbish and cut down their waste with many local authorities offering prize draws, cash rewards and community gifts beginning in October, 2005.

Around 50 schemes across the country will pilot, test and assess various approaches to incentivise people to recycle and reduce waste.

Personal rewards for regular recycling - including cash awards, prizes and discount vouchers for shopping and local leisure facilities - will be offered by some local authorities. Recycling lotteries, league tables, text messages, scratchcards will be trailed by others.

In some cases schools and charities will be cashing in on increased recycling. In others, communities will be rewarded with cash for local schemes and improvements.

Local Environmental Quality Minister, Ben Bradshaw said he hoped that the schemes would not only encourage regular recyclers to recycle more, but would help to engage with people who have yet to start recycling regularly.

As an example, residents in East Riding will be able to sign up for text messages reminding them to put their recycling out on the eve of their collection day.

Residents who register their mobile phone numbers will be entered into a monthly prize draw, with prizes worth £500 - holiday vouchers, mountain bikes and cash - up for grabs.

The six-month pilot project will assess whether this will help to encourage residents who normally forget to put out their recycling to recycle more of their waste, more often.

Crewe and Natwich Borough Councils will be entering regular recyclers in social housing into weekly prizes draws with two £1,000 prizes to try and encourage more recycling in an area with a traditionally low participation level.

Elsewhere, in participating schools in Lancashire, primary school children can earn free vouchers for leisure facilities and equipment for their school by encouraging their friends and family to pledge to recycle their rubbish in a new trial scheme to be carried out by the County council.

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 five-month trial.

Waste reduction will be the focus of a number of projects. Teignbridge District Council, for example, will offer residents the change to win organic food boxes weekly for six months if they don’t throw out food waste.

The results from the pilot studies will provide an evidence base for future policy development in this area, and guidance to local authorities on best practice.

Ben Bradshaw went on to highlight that this work was vital to ensure that the current momentum to increase recycling was not lost: “In the past nine years recycling in England has tripled from 7.5% to nearly 23% in 2004/05 and has doubled in the last four years alone.

“In order to maintain the momentum and achieve further substantial increases in recycling new approaches are needed to actively engage with the public.”

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