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Incentive scheme councils 'improve faster'

Recyclebank claims councils piloting its incentive scheme are improving their recycling rates faster than the national average.

Household recycling in England has improved by 1.5 percentage points, from 41.5% to 43% in the past year, according to recent Defra figures. But Recyclebank members Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead council achieved a 4.5-point improvement to its recycling rate. Recyclebank said that more than 3,300 tonnes more household waste was sent for recycling as a result of the scheme.

Halton Borough Council, which is also involved with the initiative, improved its recycling performance by 1.8 points, also ahead - albeit marginally - of the national average. With Recyclebank, 3,000 tonnes more household waste was sent for recycling.

Andy Watt, Managing Director EMEA at Recyclebank said, “We are so pleased with the efforts of our partner boroughs in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and Halton Borough Council. The improvement in recycling rates is testament to how green behaviours can be motivated by rewards.”

Recyclebank was launched in the UK in June 2009 and the scheme is currently live across four local authorities: Windsor and Maidenhead, Halton, Lambeth in London and most recently Wokingham.

Lambeth and Wokingham are excluded from the comparisons because the scheme has not been operating for a full year but Recyclebank told MRW that Wokingham was on target “to show some promising results in 2013”.

According to a statement on Wokingham’s website, the first three months of service change had improved year-on-year household recycling rates: “From the start of April until the end of June this year, the amount of household waste sent for disposal had reduced by 21% compared (equivalent to nearly 100 double-decker buses) with the same period last year and recycling had increased by 32% over the same period (equivalent to almost 40 double-decker buses).”

Watt said: “Whilst it’s too early to show annual recycling results for Wokingham, recent comments from the borough suggest that the service change implemented this year, which included launching Recyclebank, is on track to provide £1m of savings. Similar promise has been shown in Lambeth, where we are delighted to have contributed to the service changes that have seen a double digit increase in the amount of recycling collected from estates.”

Recyclebank offers rewards from major high-street brands for taking action to recycle in a similar way to retailer loyalty card schemes. In the UK rewards are from firms such as M&S and Champneys.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has described Recyclebank “a scheme that he’d like to see rolled out nationally”.

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