Windsor & Maidenhead RBC has encouraged residents to recycle through a system of rewards, rather than penalties.
Its RecycleBank scheme was developed after 76% of residents surveyed said they thought that offering incentives would improve recycling habits, and showed a preference for ‘carrots’ rather than ‘sticks’ to improve recycling performance.
The council adapted an American scheme under which households receive vouchers according to their recycling performance.
Vouchers can be redeemed at local retailers for everything from food and clothes to haircuts or days out, or can be donated to charities.
RecycleBank is expected to become cost neutral, as the increased recycling will reduce the council’s landfill tax liability.
It works by using equipment installed in recycling lorries to record the amount of materials collected from each participating household.
This is converted into points, which giver residents up to £130 a year in rewards to spend at participating local businesses or give to charities.
Identification tags on sacks show only the household, and hold no personal data.
Windsor & Maidenhead has a 37% recycling rate and believes that RecycleBank will push this above 40% once it is operational across the borough.