Stafford council offers residents cash incentive to recycle

Stafford Borough Council is launching a cash incentive to encourage residents to recycle.

The new scheme, called ‘Coming to a bin near you’, will give residents the chance to receive £60 if they can prove have no recycling in their residual waste bins.

Each month, council staff will pick an address at random and if the resident can prove their residual waste bin contains no recyclable material, then they will be given £60 in cash. If it does contain recycling then staff will chose another address on the street to visit.

The council will publicise in advance the area they will be visiting on its website and twitter account. On Tuesday (9 September) the campaign launched in the village of Great Haywood.

Stafford Borough Council currently offers alternate week collections of co-mingled recycling and residual waste.

‘Helping to keep council tax down’

The cash incentive is just one of a number of initiatives the council has been running as part of a bid to hit a self-imposed 60 per cent recycling target (it currently recycles around 53 per cent of household waste).

The council believes reaching the target will keep council tax down, as well as helping the environment.

Other initiatives that the council has set up include installing a bathroom suite in the middle of Stafford and Stone to make the public more aware of bathroom products that can be recycled.

Councillor Frank Finlay, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “We have had tremendous support in the past for our recycling initiatives and I hope this will prove a popular addition to help spur the community on. Where other councils may have looked to fine residents for not recycling properly – we want to reward those who are doing all they can.”

 “We are asking people to do more. A lot of the stuff residents throw in the green refuse waste bin can actually be recycled.”

Finlay added: “We all know that recycling is good for the environment but what many do not know is that it is also good financially. The council is given money for the amount we recycle and this cash is pumped back in to the service. And the more money coming back to the service, means less money needed to run it – so ultimately recycling is helping to keep council tax down.”

‘Value for money is unproved’

The move comes just days after the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, launched a £5-million fund to help local authorities with weekly waste collections incentivise recycling.

Set up to boost recycling rates, the incentives scheme is only being made available to councils in England that have free weekly bin collections (of residual waste and/or weekly food/organic waste), and, therefore has a dual ambition of boosting recycling and encouraging more councils to switch from fortnightly to weekly bin collections (which Pickles has called a ‘human right’).

However, a report published in February 2014,  ‘Investigating the Impact of Recycling Incentive schemes’, undertaken by Eunomia Research and Consulting on behalf of Serco, found that current UK reward schemes (outside of those covered by Defra’s Reward and Recognition Fund), ‘value for money is unproved, and in some cases, could actually cost more than the ‘evaluated benefits they deliver’. 

Read more about Coming to a bin near you or DCLG’s recycling incentives fund.