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Tories plan to pay people to recycle

A Conservative Government will use the RecycleBank scheme to incentivise people to recycle rather than punish them with bin taxes, according to Shadow Chancellor George Osborne.

Speaking at Imperial College in London (24 November), Osborne said that using green taxes in a clever way will help councils cut household bills.

The American-based rewards scheme was launched in the Tory-run Royal Windsor and Maidenhead Council in June. Since then,
residents have been able to earn vouchers for shops such as Marks & Spencer according to how much by weight they recycle. Osborne said the scheme was delivering fantastic results. Halton Borough Council in Cheshire also launched the
RecycleBank scheme in September (see MRW story)

Osborne said: I want Conservatives to change the way we think about environmental action. At the moment its all about pain not gain. If you dont recycle enough, Labour ministers say, We will punish you with bin taxes. But we all know that carrots work better than sticks. So I say reward people who do recycle with £130 a year on average for every family that does their bit.

Weve shown on the ground in one area of the country that this approach works so lets make it happen across the country.

Lets show that it pays to go green.

Osborne also announced that a Conservative Government would put a floor under the announced 2013 level of landfill tax until 2020. This will guarantee that the landfill tax will not fall in real terms for 10 years. The landfill tax currently stands at £40 per tonne and is set to rise to £72 per tonne in the next three years.

According to Osborne, this will be the most long-term tax commitment ever made by a Chancellor.

Think tank New Local Government Network welcomed Osbornes plans to adopt the RecycleBank scheme of rewarding people to recycle. It stated that Osborne could go further and look at linking the reduction of waste to reducing council tax bills.

NLGN director Chris Leslie said he would urge Osborne to look at offering community payback schemes that reward whole neighbourhoods for reducing their waste.

He added: By linking together financial rewards for greener behaviour this would allow communities to improve their locality while reducing the burden of waste.

RecycleBank managing director Sue Igoe told MRW
: We welcome the widespread support the scheme has received. Recycling is an issue that affects everyone and RecycleBank believes that all residents should have the opportunity to be rewarded for their recycling.

Following the success we have had in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and Halton, we are now in the process of talking to other local authorities across the UK on the benefits of the scheme. Our aim is to bring the RecycleBank scheme to communities all over the UK, so everyone can play their part in keeping material out of landfill, while being rewarded along the way.

Other key proposals:

  • The launch of green individual saving accounts;
  • Cutting Government emissions by 10 per cent in 12 months;
  • Building Britains first Green Investment Bank;
  • BT, B&Q and Tesco endorse green Conservative plans.

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