Rewards for recycling – why not?

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We’re right behind any initiative that helps cut down on waste and promotes recycling. Whether it’s for companies to help them meet their waste management targets, or in the domestic or public sphere, all education and encouragement is good news in the battle against needless waste.

So it’s always pleasing to see people working hard to win awards for their recycling efforts. Take for example the McVities company, who have taken a campaign into school classrooms to help teach kids how to deal with their waste responsibly.

recycling award

Mindful of the knowledge that their own wrappers are mainly plastic and often end up in people’s general waste that heads toward landfill, McVities launched their Biscuit Wrapper Round Up competition for schools.

The truth of the matter is that their wrappers are easily recycled, but most councils don’t have the facilities, meaning that billions of wrappers are discarded. So – probably mindful of the good publicity – they went into schools and collected them themselves, making a competition of it. According to local reports, the winners were a school from rural Northumberland with just over 100 pupils, who set off with a network of collectors to round up thousands of biscuit wrappers.

Of course, while the numbers collected are minuscule compared to the numbers of packets that are sold, the real value is in the lesson learned by pupils up and down the country that waste is bad. It’s a lesson that hits home too – the winning Wooler school say that the competition aside (which earned them much needed equipment) sparked a wider campaign that has resulted in a local partnership with a recycling group.

It’s not just schools getting in on the act. Havering Council has recently joined the ranks of local authorities that are offering rewards to residents who recycle.

Locals earn “green points”, which can either be spent online on more than 1,000 products, vouchers and experiences; or given away to charities.

Many of the discounts on offer are with local businesses, which means that in theory everybody is a winner. It’s a clever use of a million pound government grant, and the council hopes it will result in an even larger increase in recycling rates.

It’s obvious, really. Many people see recycling as a chore. Reward them for their efforts, and that reluctance soon disappears.

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