Time was when the only reward you were likely to receive for recycling was a warm glow of pride at doing your bit for the environment - but all that may have changed if you happen to live in Maidenhead.
As reported by edie last week, the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead is running a pilot scheme with its waste contractor Veolia American company RecycleBank to award residents points based on how much of their waste is recycled.
These points can then be redeemed for money-off vouchers for products and services, or used to make a donation to charity on the residents’ behalf.
There is a cap to prevent abuse of the scheme by residents trying to generate extra recycling to cash in on the points. Dedicated recyclers can expect to earn vouchers worth £40 per year.
Residents involved in the trial have welcomed the scheme, telling their local paper the Maidenhead Advertiser that since they recycle already, being rewaqrded for doing so is a win-win situation.
The administration of the scheme requires the wheelie bins of those residents involved to be fitted with a chip that identifies the bin as belonging to a particular house – the dreaded ‘bug in the bin’ so despised by the tabloid press.
Plans to charge householders varying rates based on their waste production have been extremely unpopular in other areas where local authorities have tried to introduce them.
But the Maidenhead scheme turns the traditional Pay as You Throw (PAYT) concept on its head by offering rewards for good behavior rather than penalising those who are poor at recycling.
Paul Levett, deputy chief executive of Veolia Environmental Services, said: “We are confident it will help increase recycling rates and encourage other local authorities to follow suit.
“As the leading waste management company in the UK, we utilise the most progressive technologies and practices available. We are very pleased to bring RecycleBank to our local authority partners to modernise the UK’s environmental practices and turn waste into a resource.”
Similar schemes are in operation in 18 US states and have led to marked improvements in recycling rates in some areas.