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A quarter of people would recycle more if rewarded

A quarter of people would recycle more if they were rewarded for their actions, a new study by recycling reward company Greenredeem has found.

Greenredeem’s ‘Rewards & Recycling: How incentives may have the answer for a ‘zero waste economy’ in the UK‘ white paper (written in partnership with environmentalist Toni Juniper), released today (31 October), was commissioned to mark the official rebranding of the company, following its acquisition of Recyclebank earlier this year.

According to a survey conducted by pollsters Opinion Matters on behalf of Greenredeem, 25 per cent of the 1677 adults asked said they are concerned about the environment but ‘lacked the motivation to be green’. Almost the same amount (24 per cent) added that they would recycle more if they were to receive something tangible in exchange, such as vouchers, money, or money off goods and services.

Government should ‘do more’ to incentivise recycling

The white paper found that the majority of people (64 per cent) thought that government ‘doesn’t yet do enough to incentivise recycling’ while 72 per cent believed that ‘companies and central and local government should reward people for green actions’.

Further to this, 27 per cent of people said they currently do not recycle because they receive no personal reward.

Aside from rewards, there tended to be a feeling of apathy to recycling, with almost a third (29 per cent) of people saying they are ‘not bothered enough to do as much recycling as they could’, while three per cent said they had never recycled.

Lack of Facilities

While the British public might lack the motivation to recycle, the white paper suggests that 37 per cent of those that do not recycle are prevented from doing so by ‘a lack of convenient facilities’. Further, only 26 per cent of people said they used recycling bins in their communities.

Juniper said: “We are very far from where we need to be in reaching the goal of ‘zero waste’ that so many now believe is both possible and desirable to achieve. Part of the problem is down to the fact that a high proportion of people remain resistant to the notion of recycling, including because they see no personal benefit arising from it.

“To get into the modern league of top recyclers will require more than awareness and good facilities. Clearer incentives that make sense to those who are still reluctant would undoubtedly help.”

Reward Points

Greenredeem uses a points system to reward people for a range of ‘green actions’, such as pledging to recycle a new material, or composting tea bags. Points can then be exchanged for various rewards including money off vouchers or free items.

Under the rebrand, members of the scheme are now being given new ways to redeem their points such as printing rewards at home or redeeming on a new mobile app.

Commenting on the white paper, Rob Crumbie, Communications Director at Greenredeem said: “It’s clear that across the UK, people are concerned about the environment, but these concerns aren’t enough to get them to take real action.

“Consumers do know that they should be doing more to help the environment, and that they just need a nudge to be reminded to do so. Many people already recycle and so we will also be using our rewards programme to encourage them to recycle even more…Through our work we know that reward schemes can have real impact on driving green actions, with local councils seeing recycling rates increasing by up to three times the national average by offering the Greenredeem reward scheme to their residents.”

He added: “Our aim is to drive up recycling rates by encouraging more people to be more green wherever – at home and on the go – they are.”

Read 'Rewards & Recycling: How incentives may have the answer for a ‘zero waste economy’ in the UK' or find out more about Greenredeem.