Councillors in Brighton and Hove have approved a recycling incentive scheme that will reward communities for recycling.
The move is hoped to boost the flagging recycling rates, dropping around 25 percent in recent years.
Brighton and Hove is now below neighbouring authorities like Bristol, Cheltenham and Bournemouth, which all have recycling rates above 40 percent.
The recession and changes to buying habits have all been given as reasons for the decline, but councillors are now hoping the rate will pick up with the cash rewards on offer.
The council currently saves about £56 for every tonne of recycling it receives. Under the new proposal about £15 would be put into a special “community fund” for every additional tonne it brings in.
Cllr Ollie Sykes – “There is no doubt that recycling rates in the city have faltered over the years, but there is also huge potential in the city for improvement… The proposed incentive scheme would see communities reaping the benefits of their efforts and, when combined with the introduction of communal recycling bins, could well see recycling rates soar”
The money would then be split into grants – ranging from about £1,000 to £5,000 – that community groups could bid for at the end of the year.
Councillors largely welcomed the scheme, which it is hoped could bring the council’s recycling rates up to about 35 percent, but Labour councillor Gill Mitchell said she was sceptical the scheme would make any significant difference.
If all residents recycled their paper, card, plastic bottles, cans and glass, rates could increase to around 35 percent, the council says. An increase of just five percent could also save the council around £293,000 a year.
The incentive scheme is one of a series of measures being considered by the council to boost rates in the city. It will also complement the communal recycling scheme currently being rolled out across the city centre which the council hopes will have a significant impact on recycling rates.
Cllr Ollie Sykes, deputy chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said: “There is no doubt that recycling rates in the city have faltered over the years, but there is also huge potential in the city for improvement.
“The proposed incentive scheme would see communities reaping the benefits of their efforts and, when combined with the introduction of communal recycling bins, could well see recycling rates soar.”
Earlier this month (3 April) Ealing rolled out a £1.3m recycling incentive scheme, which was criticised by opposition as an “expensive marketing campaign”.