Value of recycling reward schemes to be investigated

The role that recycling incentive schemes can play in delivering more cost-effective waste services is to be explored in a new piece of research that will help inform government strategy going forward.

Serco has appointed Eunomia Research & Consulting to undertake the research, which has been designed in collaboration with Defra. It is intended to compliment work that the department is carrying out separately looking at the impact of Defra-funded trials of recycling incentives.

The move is also part of Serco’s commitment to support local government by helping local authorities maximise the effectiveness of their recycling services in a challenging financial climate.

By co-ordinating both pieces of research, the two organisations intend to widen the scope of the work while avoiding costly duplication.

For Defra the research will compliment its own work where 26 local authorities and community groups have been awarded funds in a multi-year programme looking at how recognition and rewards schemes best maximise public engagement.

For Serco it will focus on non-Defra funded schemes both at home and abroad, drawing on evidence from more established schemes as well as considering alternative methods and models for achieving behavioural change.

Serco and Defra intend to release stand-alone reports and a joint summary report in the autumn of this year.

Commenting on the joint approach, Serco’s direct services business development director Robin Davies said the study should gather “real evidence” about what works.

“Defra have focussed on supporting and evaluating the schemes which they are funding. That opens up an opportunity for us to look, in a comparable way, at the performance of the more established schemes operating across the UK and abroad which don’t have Defra funding,” he said.

Eunomia who is carrying out the research on behalf of Serco said it hoped to draw on experience from different types of schemes, particularly from those overseas.

Its director James Fulford said: “The joint approach in sharing of findings and lessons learned between the organisations will significantly enhance the research, rather than if each of the organisations were working in isolation.”

Maxine Perella

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