Throughout October some 50 schemes will be tempting householders to sort more of their rubbish by offering everything from scratch cards and hard cash to more community-oriented rewards for local schools and other worthy causes.

The pilot schemes were announced by Local Environmental Quality Minister Ben Bradshaw this week and will cover millions of homes.

Some local authorities will offer financial rewards while others will name and shame the best and worst recyclers by publishing league tables or sending congratulatory text messages.

In some areas the focus will be on schools, where children will be encouraged to ask their parents to make an ‘environmental promise’ and schools with the most pledges will receive rewards.

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.

“Getting people to change their behaviour is a challenge, and recycling is no exception,” he said.

“While there are millions of dedicated recyclers, there are still many families and people who have yet to start recycling regularly.

“We want to find new ways to encourage these people to start recycling and help regular recyclers by making it easier for them to fit recycling into their lives.”

“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.”

The impact of the pilot studies will be closely monitored and the evidence they provide will be considered when looking at future policy development in this area, and guidance to local authorities on best practice.

It complements ongoing work by Defra and WRAP to find new ways to encourage people to recycle more of their waste, including work with retailers to make it easier to recycle at supermarkets.

By Sam Bond

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