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Pay the public to recycle, say Conservatives

The Conservative Party would encourage financial incentive schemes under which people would be paid to recycle, shadow chancellor George Osborne is due to announce.

In a speech to pressure group the Green Alliance (Jul 9), he will argue that current Government policies are unpopular and heavy handed.

Osborne will argue that the Governments approach is an old fashioned one: use the threat of fines and punitive taxation to force people to recycle. He will suggest that instead of using sticks, we can use carrots to boost recycling.

He is expected to tell the Green Alliance that the Conservative Party will adopt a new approach similar to that used in the US. Earlier this year the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said he would adopt the same scheme used by US company RecycleBank, which gives every household in an area a bin for recyclable waste which is weighed when collected. The amount of waste recycled is recorded and credited to the households account.

Osborne will say: What companies like RecycleBank do is say to councils and city administrations: if we reduce your landfill tax bill by pushing up recycling rates, then how about we spilt the savings?

RecycleBank then use this money to pay households up to $50 per month for their recycling. And the more they recycle, the more they get paid.

Osborne will say that the US scheme has helped increase the amount of household waste being recycled by more than 200%.

The Governments proposed pay-as-you-throw scheme is similar to the US approach, where councils would reward residents for recycling.

He will also say that the Conservatives are working with the Local Government Association (LGA), the Mayor of Londons office and Conservative local authorities, such as Windsor and Maidenhead, in Berkshire, to explore how such schemes might be implemented.

LGA chairman Paul Bettison said: As chairman of the LGA, I think this innovative approach is well worth investigating. The more ways we can find of empowering communities to encourage recycling, the better.

Image: Shadow Chancellor George Osborne

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