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Points really do make prizes

The two-year trial of a voluntary recycling reward scheme implemented by Bracknell Forest Council and operated by Sita UK, which utilises software and vehicle technology from AMCS Group, has contributed to an overall increase in recycling participation levels from 75% to 80%.

The ability to provide residents with an accurate and credible incentive scheme has an important role to play in reducing the amount of valuable resources we continue to throw in to landfills.

Residents wishing to take part in the scheme simply sign up for the council’s existing e+ card service and register online for the recycling incentive scheme. They are then sent an activation pack, which includes an electronic tag to attach to their mixed recycling bin.

Each time the bin is emptied, AMCS’s electronic tag reader on the collection vehicle records that it has been presented and emptied. This information is then transmitted to Sita UK’s computer system operating AMCS software.

Points are awarded to the householder automatically, and they can be redeemed against local leisure and library facilities or further recycling services, such as the provision of water butts.

If a bin is found to be contaminated with the wrong type of material, a contamination sticker is issued and no points are awarded.

Residents can check their points balance and find out how they can be used by logging into their account on the council’s secure online reward portal.

The incentive scheme in Bracknell Forest is funded in part by a Government grant to see whether or not it is possible for a local authority to have a self-financing scheme that improves the recycling rate and reduces the tonnage of waste going to landfill.

A report will be presented for consideration on the merits or otherwise of it continuing.  

Jimmy Martin is AMCS Group chief executive

Viewpoints

The council: Bracknell Forest

Claire Pike, waste disposal and recycling manager, says:

“We have achieved a 5% increase in recycling participation, which is extremely encouraging. And this has been coupled with a significant improvement in quality of recyclate, which is demonstrated by an 8% reduction in contamination of material.

“As we start to see overall recycling rates level off, AMCS Group’s software will allow us to drill down into the data to identify areas of opportunity, helping us to target our resources more effectively.”

The contractor: Sita UK

David Palmer-Jones, chief executive, says:

“From talking to residents involved in our joint study with Keep Britain Tidy [The Ur[bin] Issue, it was their clear recommendation that localised rewards – be it in the form of council tax rebates or money off services – would help to engage and motivate people to adopt good recycling habits.

“We are very pleased to be trialling a scheme which is already showing this to work in practice, and we look forward to seeing what effect it has had once the trial concludes.”

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