Halton Borough Council has launched its first rewards for recycling programme as it joins forces with RecycleBank to introduce the scheme to over 10,000 households.
Residents in the Cheshire-based borough will be able to pocket up to an average of £130 a year by putting recyclable materials in their bin.
The voluntary scheme rewards residents with points for the amount of recyclable material they put into their bin. The points can then be exchanged for money off goods at places such as Costcutter and Marks & Spencer.
US-based RecycleBank is currently operating a trial in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (see MRW story).
Councillor Phil Harris said that the local authority would get an economic benefit because it will pay less landfill tax and increase recycling. Speaking about the scheme, he said the proof in the pudding would be in the eating.
He added: It is a good scheme and we will give it a try. It is something new and we will be confident it will work and that is what counts.
We want to reward our residents for their recycling efforts and maximise participation across the borough. It is in everyones interest to decrease the amount of waste sent to landfill sites and our overall goal is to increase household recycling in a way that is easy and convenient for households. Halton Borough Council has always believed in encouraging people to recycle and we are proud to be the first council in the north to introduce the scheme.
The council currently operates a kerbside multi-material recycling collection service to 42,000 households in the borough. The RecycleBank pilot scheme will reward people who recycle in 10,000 of those homes in seven pilot areas.
Harris said that the RecycleBank scheme could catch on in other areas but no one-size fits all and it was up to each local authority to make their own decisions.
He explained that he was personally up for re-election next year and was very confident about the scheme.
RecycleBank managing director Sue Igoe added: This is a scheme that is easy and rewarding for councils and residents. We have helped to increase recycling rates anywhere from 30 to 80 per cent in the communities we service. RecycleBank has demonstrated that when financial incentives are aligned with smart environmental actions, people will make the better environmental choice.