“Carrot” Approach Twice As Effective At Changing Recycling Behaviour

New research by Greenredeem shows that local authorities in England that adopted a recycling rewards scheme saw dry recycling rates increase two fold (26.95 percent) compared with those that took a compulsory recycling strategy (14.86 percent), from 2009/2010 to 2013/2014.

When looking at dry recycling rates (glass, plastic and card board) collected from the kerbside, the research suggests a proactive “carrot” approach is more effective ataltering behaviour and improving rates than fines.

In 2012/2013, local authorities that adopted a rewards scheme to improve dry recycling rates saw 19.18 percent recycled, compared with just 11.91 percent, for those that implemented compulsory recycling.

Focusing on dry recycling rates is important because it highlights the most widespread form of recycling that UK residents undertake, according to Greenredeem.

Rob Crumbie, Greenredeem – “It’s clear that the government can see the benefit of incentive schemes. However, this research offers the evidence for local authorities that has so far been lacking: The carrot is more twice as effective as the stick at improving dry recycling rates”

Greenredeem research found last year that a quarter of Brits surveyed (25 percent) claimed to be concerned about the environmental future of the planet, but not enough to motivate them to be green.

Just under a third (29 percent) of people admitted to not recycling as much waste as they could due to not being bothered, and a worrying minority (3 percent) admits to never having recycled.

Greeredeem says that by adopting a rewarding recycling strategy, councils can also benefit from increased knowledge of their resident’s recycling behavior, to continue to optimise their recycling programmes.

It says an incentive-based platform, by its very nature requires regular engagement for members to collect rewards and so this also offers an opportunity to further motivate local residents to take other local green actions, whether it’s promoting a new service, paperless billing, increasing the use of public transport or community volunteering.

“It’s clear that the government can see the benefit of incentive schemes. However, this research offers the evidence for local authorities that has so far been lacking: The carrot is more twice as effective as the stick at improving dry recycling rates,” explained Rob Crumbie, communications director at Greenredeem.

“We would encourage all local authorities, whether they plan an incentive-based scheme or not, to take up Eric Pickles’ offer of the Recycling Rewards Scheme Fund. This research demonstrates that rewards programmes have real impact on local dry recycling rates, as well as wider benefits for residents, local business and community causes.

“We would strongly encourage local authorities to adopt such schemes if they are serious at hitting the government target of a 50 percent recycling rate by 2020.”


 

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