Pickles announces £5m recycling incentives fund

English councils that only offer fortnightly bin collections are 'short-changing residents with an inferior service' according to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles who has today (29 August) launched a £5m recycling fund to reward areas that offer weekly refuse collections.

The new fund will be used to offer incentives to households through a new reward points scheme, by electronically weighing individual bins for paper, glass, cardboard and plastic, and providing residents with shopping vouchers and other loyalty rewards based on their weekly recycling score.

“This government is protecting the local environment by supporting recycling, as well as championing weekly collections which protect local amenity and public health,” said Pickles. “Councils with fortnightly collections will not receive government funding and are short-changing their residents with an inferior service.

“It is a myth that fortnightly bin collections or unfair bin fines are needed to increase recycling. Rewards for recycling show how working with families can deliver environmental benefits without the draconian approach of punishing people and leaving out smelly rubbish.

“There is an alternative to the town hall bin barons who pushed through fortnightly bin collections and are now trying to move to monthly bin collections by stealth.”

Behaviour change

The fund is open to all councils in England operating free weekly bin collections of residual waste and/or weekly food/organic waste. But councils with fortnightly collections are not eligible. Around 40 pilot reward schemes have already been conducted, the first of which was in Windsor and Maidenhead in 2010, where recycling rates increased from 34% to 48%.

Welcoming today’s announcement, Rob Crumbie, communications director at Greenredeem -a company that works directly with local councils to reward residents for recycling – said ‘the fund is a step in the right direction for us to hit the 2020 target’. 

“We strongly believe that incentives are the answer and through our work we know that reward schemes can have a real impact on driving green behaviours, with participating local councils seeing recycling rates increasing by up to three times the national average.

“In order to ensure the 2020 target is met, we need everyone – local and central government, residents and businesses – to come together to encourage the UK to recycle even more than they do now.”

Bids to the fund close on 7 November 2014 with successful applications announced in January 2015 and the money to be made available from April 2015.

Luke Nicholls

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