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It must have been almost two decades ago, when I discovered a report outlining the spiraling costs for landfill in the various countries making up the EU, that I discussed over several Leaders, various ways that those who don’t recycle everything they can, (simply because they ought to!) could be persuaded to ‘do the right thing’. I recall musing over the merits of providing some sort of incentive, in terms of, say, a council tax rebate dependent upon the amount of recycling left out for collection, or perhaps how rarely a householder opted to have their general waste bin emptied. At that stage my own waste bin was emptied fortnightly whereas once every six months would have been perfectly adequate as my family didn’t generate much waste; some years later the council reverted to weekly collections. I wonder how many man-hours could have been saved over the years, if people like me had been given the choice… how much money the council could have saved or how much crucial (and perhaps more enjoyable?) work could have been carried out instead, by the freed-up refuse teams.
When we launched Cleanzine, every local authority in the UK was on our circulation. I’d hoped for feedback – or to read about some policy change or other, but nothing came of it. With the UK population almost eight million higher than it was back then, we have a far more pressing need to find a solution to the ever growing and ever more costly landfill problem that faces us.
Now this may not be the first authority to have come up with a novel idea to change people’s behaviour but it’s the first of its type I’ve heard about and I sincerely hope it’s a success and that others follow suit, or come up with their own schemes. Residents in Caerphilly, Wales, now have the chance of winning £500 in return for putting their food waste caddy out for collection each week and it’s hoped that this will encourage the 60% who don’t bother recycling their food waste, to start doing so. As Caerphilly Council currently receives 50p per tonne of anaerobic digestion from food waste collections, the scheme could well be self-sustaining if enough householders take part, since the increased tonnage of food waste collected should generate enough to cover the winnings. You can read more about the scheme in this week’s news, below, and if you’re involved in waste collection and are considering – or running – a recycling incentive, I’d love to hear about it – wherever you may be in the world!
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10th March 2022