The Government’s waste review which was launched on 14th June has received quite a reaction. Much of the media excitement has centered on the frequency of bin collections, with the Government stepping back from an insistence on weekly collections. At Green Rewards we are really pleased to see a strong emphasis in the Review on ‘carrots’, rewarding and incentivising households rather than penalties for not recycling; it’s very encouraging that Defra also launched a new Household Reward and Recognition Scheme to coincide with its Waste Review as this will be a useful catalyst in helping councils introduce incentive schemes.
There has been criticism from some quarters that Defra has put too strong an emphasis on incentives, at the expense of better education and awareness. However this misses the point as one of the main benefits of an incentive scheme is in providing a communications channel directly into people’s homes – and as a result of this new communications channel, households are better educated and more aware; they also receive regular feedback on how their area is performing in meeting waste and recycling targets. We are always being told that the UK is not doing enough recycling and still sends far too much waste to landfill, and yet there is a lack of performance feedback at a local level to make households aware of how they are doing. Implementing an incentives programme, such as our Local Green Points scheme, provides this vital feedback loop and it would be good to see Defra in the future increase its funding support to help local authorities put their toe in the incentive scheme water.
In the last decade household recycling has increased from 12% to 39% which has resulted in enormous environmental and financial savings. At Green Rewards we are keen to support Defra’s aims set out in the Review and to help councils implement well-structured incentive schemes that reward households and communities in an appropriate and meaningful way for reducing the overall amount of waste sent to landfill.
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