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NRAs 2015 Local Authority Innovation: Bracknell Forest Council

Bracknell Forest Council’s recycling reward scheme utilises its Smart Card.

It is a partnership between three Bracknell Forest Council teams: waste, e+ Smart Card and leisure, as well as its waste collection contractor Suez. The rewards available come from council facilities and supported services, so it can be sustained at low cost.

It started in April 2013, with targets to increase households participating in the kerbside recycling service from 75% to 82% within two years, and to reduce contamination in collected recycling from 16% to 8% during the same period. Both have been achieved, and the amount of recycling in residual waste bins has decreased by almost half.

Bracknell Forest Council

In Bracknell Forest, a multi-application e+ card was already used by residents as a library card, bus pass, leisure membership, proof of age, organ donor register and for shopping discounts. It is now also a recycling reward card.

“The scheme is based on rewarding good recycling behaviour, linking those rewards to a key council healthy living objective. As such it is a good practice example of building on existing technology, at low cost, to devise a true reward scheme”

Judges’ comment          

Every resident can join the reward scheme: online, by phone or in person at local libraries, leisure centres or council offices. Once registered, they are sent an activation pack which contains details about the scheme, information on the materials accepted for recycling and an electronic tag to stick to the back of their blue bin.

Members receive points each time their recycling containers are emptied, regardless of the amount recycled. A reader on the collection vehicles registers the tags as the bins are lifted, recording that the bin has been emptied. This information is transmitted to the back office system and passed to SmartConnect, the web-based data and card management platform behind the e + card. Points are then assigned to the member’s accounts through SmartConnect.

If bins are not emptied because they have not been put out or they are badly contaminated, the driver presses a button on the collection vehicle, recording the information and no points are awarded.

Information on the number of points and rewards available can be found online, by phone or in person at council libraries/leisure centres. Points can be spent in a variety of ways, such as swimming, borrowing a DVD or purchasing theatre tickets, on ‘green rewards’ or points donated to local good causes.  

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