28 Nov 2009

Rewards for recycling?

News that Tories want to reward recyclers by paying them £130 a year in vouchers from big corporations like Marks and Spencers and Tesco is just business as usual - see Telegraph article here and Indy here - we need to reduce first then reuse then recycle - yet here seems to be a plan to encourage us to spend more at the big stores with all their packaging nonsense.

Photo: View of Whiteshill

We are still recycling only a third of what we throw away - yet all the research shows that the overwhelming majority of us think recycling is a good idea and want to recycle more. How can we bridge the gap?

Consumer research shows that encouraging recycling - making it easy to do the right thing - is the best way to increase rates - fines are not the answer. Research also shows that folk want to know that, like in Stroud, the materials are being recycled - not sent to China or an incinerator.

Reward schemes being developed by councils in Windsor and Halton do deserve consideration - but we know from research that good recycling schemes are not just about rewards.

Here is what WRAP say: "The biggest lesson our research shows is that when it comes to designing recycling and collection schemes there is no one size fits all solution. Decisions about what will work best are, and should be, local decisions. Supporting recycling in a leafy suburb is a very different matter from on a high rise estate with huge social challenges. WRAP’s role is to provide solid evidence to support those decisions and help spread the good practice created by other authorities. This same principle of “no one-size fits all” solution will I’m sure be also the case with reward schemes."

The government have allowed us to become the dirty man of Europe, and have continually dragged their feet on implementing EU meausures outlining waste targets. In many ways measures like this reward system are panic measures that are ill-thought out - instead we need investment in developing those local answers rather than the 'one size fits all' - especially this scheme that is about increasing our consumption.

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