BBC BLOGS - Have Your Say
« Previous | Main | Next »

Should recycling be rewarded?

08:52 UK time, Monday, 7 June 2010

The government is dropping plans for a "bin tax" in favour of a points-for-prizes scheme. Is this a good move?

Labour had proposed fitting electronic weighing tags to bins, and fining people who threw away too much rubbish.

Now ministers are backing a scheme in Berkshire which awards points for the amount households recycle, which can be redeemed at shops, restaurants and leisure centres, or donated to schools.

Do you agree with this approach? Would a points incentive encourage you to recycle? Were you in favour of the bin tax? Are you signing up for the scheme?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    It's a much better idea than fining people as that only leads to more fly-tipping. The bin size restrictions alone have led to more fly-tipping where I live.

  • Comment number 2.

    Absolutely not. Recycling is its own reward. Period.

  • Comment number 3.

    In that case, the cost of the Waste Disposal services ought to be taken away from the Rates equation & we each pay according to how much we recycle & dispose of.

  • Comment number 4.

    Epsom & Ewell Council provide me with 2 wheelie bins and 3 other different plastic containers for two different types of collection
    (alternate weeks).

    A system clearly designed by committee.

    Epsom looks like a dump on collection days. Bins and boxes lining the roads; upturned and strewn about the pavement after the collection.

    We deserve to be rewarded to accommodate this scheme.

  • Comment number 5.

    Is this an admission that current recycling policy is failing, that despite multiple bins, people are still failing to recycle?

    If so then a scheme to improve the situation can only be a positive thing, although I'd not be happy funding it through my council tax.

  • Comment number 6.

    A bit on common sense for a change. How refreshing. Punishing people for the excessive packaging some companies put on their goods is both unfair and idiotic.

  • Comment number 7.

    Sounds like a fairly sensible idea to me. The 'bin tax' was totally unworkable and even for Labour one of their silliest ideas. Rewarding people rather than punishing has to be the way to go.

    From a personal viewpoint however, I do recycle what I can put out for collection outside my house. Instead of financial incentives to go further perhaps councils could simply take more items and be less fussy about what they do and don't collect.

  • Comment number 8.

    This is a great idea, as money is tight for families so this will give people a chance to save up some pennies and help the planet at the same time :)

  • Comment number 9.

    So instead of people worrying that neighbours are going to dump extra rubbish in your bin so that you pay for throwing away too much, people will now be worrying that neighbours are going to steal their rubbish and they will miss out on the prizes?

    I am joking about that btw. I think people will buy into this scheme much more readily than the pay as you throw approach. So long as people don't put the wrong rubbish in the bottom of the bins to bump up the weight then this could work quite well.

  • Comment number 10.

    The British attitude to waste and recycling is a national embarrassment. In Europe recycling, community composting schemes and generally keeping the streets clean and tidy are embraced not merely as a civic duty but as a public service to be grateful for. In Britain, people are deeply suspicious of anything to do with the environment and they prefer to throw their fag packets, beer bottles and half-eaten kebabs in the street. It is part of a wider malaise - a related example is the fact that in any other European country, on a busy shopping day with cars queuing to find space in a supermarket car park, all the bays reserved for disabled shoppers are either empty or occupied only by disabled drivers. Britain has a brutish, anti-social culture for which some blame 1960s liberal values and others, including me, blame the crass no-such-thing-as-society Thatcherite era.
    So it is unfortunate that the question even has to be asked, but I support either carrot or stick if it has the effect of forcing/encouraging people to be a bit more considerate about how they deal with their rubbish. I don't have a problem with bin tax or vouchers, I just wish neither was necessary.

  • Comment number 11.

    Rewarding for recycling is better than the old 'bin tax', but it still isn't very fair. You get rewarded for creating rubbish (albeit recyclable rubbish), whereas those that don't recycle much because they don't produce much rubbish get penalised (even if it is through higher taxes to pay for other people's rewards). I guess it is as close to a good system as we can practically have at the moment though.

    Remember recycling does have an environmental impact too.

  • Comment number 12.

    Should recycling be rewarded well its about 10 x better than hitting people with a big stick, it rewards, it teaches and it means less fly tipping, plus people who sort out there rubbish get rewarded for there hard work, winning idea all round !!!

  • Comment number 13.

    Good news. A real change from the Labour methodology of punish everyone and tax them to the hilt. I already recycle and get a bit piddled off when I find I cannot recycle certain items, especially certain plastics. I fully support the idea of being 'rewarded' for recycling as for once I may actually benefit from a Government idea. Our local council has had a recycling scheme in place for a number of years and after initial teething troubles it seems to work OK. Yes you still get the occasional hiccup but overall it works well. The local Tesco has recycling bins and the council also supplies local recycling facilities. No excuse really. The pious extremist will still spout that 'recycling has it's own rewards' but this is nonsense. It takes time and a bit of effort to undertake recycling properly. Why not get a pat on the back for doing the right thing?

  • Comment number 14.

    The deal as far as I'm concerned is, I use three different bins and recycle as much as I can and I pay the Council to come round and take it all away.

    Why make it any more complicated than that? Putting any other system in place (points or tax) will cost a fortune in admin and set-up charges.

    Why bother? Leave things as they are.

  • Comment number 15.

    It would be far better if councils just took everything and if they wanted it sorted out then did the sorting themselves. There *should* be plenty of spare cash for that (despite the country's finances being in a complete mess), since getting the bins emptied seems to be about the only half useful service you get from council tax, and that's far too high to pay for bins alone.

  • Comment number 16.

    This country is a joke when it comes to recycling the rest of europe is far better than the UK. But you should not get any reward for recyclng. The law should come down hard on fly tippers they leave a terrible mess in the countryside.

  • Comment number 17.

    I might have to start selling lead wheels for wheely bins on eBay.

  • Comment number 18.

    "In Britain, people are deeply suspicious of anything to do with the environment and they prefer to throw their fag packets, beer bottles and half-eaten kebabs in the street."

    Slightly off-topic but I have to disagree with you that the rest of Europe is better than the UK when it comes to littering / fly-tipping. In my experience this is far worse in other countries, especially the Southern European countries - Spain, Greece etc.

    I agree that much of Northern Europe, Germany, Holland etc, is much better when it comes to recycling. I think however that this is because it is easier and better organised there, rather than a cultural trait of the people.

  • Comment number 19.

    Good idea to reward people for doing the right thing rather than punishing them for doing the wrong.

  • Comment number 20.

    Re-cycling is good, eco fascism is bad.

  • Comment number 21.

    I think with something like this the carrot is certainly more likely to be effective than the stick. I saw the old "bin tax" proposal as more likely to increase fly tipping, so hopefully this will encourage people to think more about what they throw out.

  • Comment number 22.

    In many ways offering rewards for people to recycle compared to the previous proposal of fining people who didn't is really the same thing with a more positive light been cast on it.
    I doubt it will cost anymore to implement, and in reality the people who don't qualify for the rewards being offered will be be paying for them to be given to those that do, so effectively will be being fined. However provided these people don't realise that they are being fleeced the proposal will be more acceptable to the general public.
    I will be interested to know how they will be able to offer rewards without introducing chip technology, as the rewards can not really be given on the basis of the amount of recycled waste each household puts out, as smaller households would be penalised. To be fair it would have to be based on the percentage of recycled material to total waste, however this would be complicated given that different rubbish is collected on different days. It would also discourage me from taking recycleable waste to the waste recycling bins at our local supermarket, as I wouldn't get any rewards for doing this, better to wait for it to be picked up instead.

  • Comment number 23.

    Iv just been an expert witness for a planning application in Berksire, My evidance was regarding vehicle access but the main stumbling block for the was the council wanted 2 extra affordable houses on a site of 18, the developer wanted to have bin cupboards that could cater for 3 wheely bins per house to remove the house holders having to store the bins in front on their houses.

    Guess who won! Now there will be 20 houses with NO storage for bins. All but 6 of the huses the bins will be stored in full sun light, as the gardens are only 5ft from the pavement and home owners are baned from placing fences etc in them for 6years... Lucky house holders

  • Comment number 24.

    If you mean giving people an incentive to recycle then yes I can't see it doing any harm at all.

    It's much better than doing nothing.

  • Comment number 25.

    This will end up as a tax in all but name, a kind of tax relief only for the good recycler.

    General council tax will go up to pay for waste handling, to cover the cost of not penalising poor recyclers. You only get relief from the tax if you recycle well and nobody dumps their rubbish in your bin. So, this amounts to the as same thing the government has just scrapped. Pay as you throw. Again loads of froth, no real change. More dishonesty and lack of respect for our intelligence.

    To add insult to injury the government backed schemes will still be just as intrusive on our privacy as Labour's scheme. We will still have smart chips in our bins letting authorities know how much we throw away.

  • Comment number 26.


    You win the prize for being the first person to blame Margaret Thatcher in this HYS. Well done!

  • Comment number 27.

    Great news! The end of yet another Labour 'stealth tax' that costs us all more to administer than benefit from.

    Sadly, the power crazy bin police, out to prosecute easy targets like your grandmother who makes occasional mistakes, may lose their jobs?

    Furthermore, can we now allow business to use public recycling centres instead of fly-tipping.

    Plus, change regulation in order for all local business rates to be paid to local authorities for the benefit of the local community and not paid to central government, as they are now?

  • Comment number 28.

    Claire. Comment 8:

    "This is a great idea, as money is tight for families so this will give people a chance to save up some pennies and help the planet at the same time :)."

    You have been conned! Or, should I say ConDemed? See my comment 25.

  • Comment number 29.

    I think rewarding for recycling is a good idea - maybe we'll see people combing the countryside roads for discarded drink bottles, cans, and cardboard and making money from their adventure - something our council cannot be bothered doing despite our many calls to clean up the streets.

  • Comment number 30.

    Always better to use carrot rather than stick but the administrative costs of monitoring such schemes will outweigh any benefits. Don't introduce any excuse for more bureaucracy.

  • Comment number 31.

    15. At 09:51am on 07 Jun 2010, ForceCrag wrote:
    It would be far better if councils just took everything and if they wanted it sorted out then did the sorting themselves. There *should* be plenty of spare cash for that (despite the country's finances being in a complete mess), since getting the bins emptied seems to be about the only half useful service you get from council tax, and that's far too high to pay for bins alone.


    Yes, why should we have to make any individual effort to improve our society.

    We are entitled to get everything given us on a silver platter (whilst still maintaining the right to whine about the 'Nanny State').

  • Comment number 32.

    Using the carrot rather than the stick for once can only be a good thing and genuinely seems like a fresh approach for government however a couple of concerns. 1)Given the current economic climate and drive for 'efficiency', where is the funding for this coming from? Surely a tax as unpopular as it may be would go towards reducing the deficit or keep people in jobs boosting the economy? 2)Surely recycling lies as a responsibility of local government and decision on any incentive or punishment lies with them? I remember when Bournemouth council attempted to monitor people's bin activity through a chip so that they could quantify how much resource was needed to meet citizens demands and were accused of snooping and forced to abandon the plan (which seemed a shame).

  • Comment number 33.

    A good idea in theory, but as with so many of these great ideas, not so good in practice. How would this scheme work, exactly? Would it be based on the weight of recycled material?

    If so, the opportunities for deception are endless. The first things to go in the recycle bin would be phone directories - which shouldn't go into regular collections. Plastic bottles filled with water would be another one. Or simply the odd brick hidden inside lots of packaging. You might even get householders stealing material out of their neighbours' bins to bulk up their own recycling.

    Ever heard of the saying: "Where there's muck there's brass"?

  • Comment number 34.

    Firstly let me say I am a wholehearted supporter of recycling and welcome anything which increases the amount of material not sent to landfill. I do however have two concerns.

    Firstly, Where is the pressure on suppliers to reduce the amount of unnecessary packaging. If stores were required to take back any packaging included in the products they sell that would add a major driver to reduce the material at source.

    Secondly, Where does all of the material we carefully put in out segregated bins actually go. It may not end up in landfill in this country but are we just exporting the problem. I have yet to hear of any actual analysis of where our recycling actually ends up.

  • Comment number 35.

    It needs a multiple layered approach.
    How about fining shops and stores that put everything into excess packing
    fining all the junk mail producers
    Make all packaging recyclable
    Ensure the labels on the packaging define exacty what it is so that people know if it can be recycled
    Have a consistent national approach by councls so the same things are recycled all over the country in the same way.
    I know it is a novel approach starting with the cause of the problem rather than trying to patch up the end result but it could work -
    oh drat I forgot, the causes of the problem are big business who can wave big cheques under politicans noses whilst us at the bottom just have live with what comes down from on high - and we all know what that is.

  • Comment number 36.

    "Epsom looks like a dump on collection days. Bins and boxes lining the roads; upturned and strewn about the pavement after the collection.

    We deserve to be rewarded to accommodate this scheme."

    Nowhere looks accepatble on bin day, or a couple of days after, ever since front-of-house recycling started. We are told very specifically how, wher and when to put our multi-coloured swap shop of containers, but the bin men leave them all over the place. They become trip hazards and temporary dog-fouling targets.

  • Comment number 37.

    I think it depends of how much the administrative costs are to set this up.

    We do a lot of recycling already such as paper, glass, plastic and garden waste - it makes sense. It actually makes me ill seeing glass or paper thrown in with the general waste. At present, we do not have an door step uplift for glass and plastic but there are recycling bins at various communal areas such as parks and supermarkets so its not too much of an inconvenience although I'm sure increased door step uplifts would encourage others to recycle more.
    The most frustrating thing I find is why the government don't insist that all goods sold in this country have recycleable packaging.

  • Comment number 38.

    We will soon expect prizes for breathing.
    Another no brainer from our overstaffed councils and civil service.

  • Comment number 39.

    Try getting rid of an old duvet if you don't have a car. The local recycling skip says nothing larger than a carrier bag of clothes. And no, I can't cut it up. It won't even fit into a black bag for disposal on bin day.

  • Comment number 40.

    I was in Elstree at the weekend and was stunned to see three large wheelie bins in front of each house. What an eye-sore!

  • Comment number 41.

    #25 & 28

    Wind-Blown. What has happened in your life to make you so cynical?

    Oh. And I split my sides seeing that you have used "ConDem" in your post. You are funny!

  • Comment number 42.

    There are 3 kinds of people when it comes to recycling:

    - those who just can't be bothered
    - those who do try, but don't put too much effort into it, and sometimes get things wrong (eg putting stuff in recycling which can't be recycled, or vice versa)
    - those who are obsessive about it, and try not to let a single thing go in general waste if it can be recycled.

    Really, both the latter two are fine, but often it's the middle group that get penalised.

    The big problem group are the first group, but it's quite hard to come up with a solution to encourage them to recycle - they normally don't believe recycling does any good whatsoever so have no internal motivation to do it. It might look as if fines would help, but those people might be the same people who would have no problem with fly-tipping or dumping in a neighbour's bin.

    Have any studies been done to find out which types of people don't recycle - eg if they are busy professional people, they may be willing to pay a voluntary surcharge so they don't have to sort their own waste.

    However, some people in the first group might be there because their council's recycling rules are too difficult (20 different bins for different types of plastics, or some types of plastics being recyclable, and others not). In that case, the councils need to sort their act out.

  • Comment number 43.

    29. At 10:11am on 07 Jun 2010, Brian wrote:

    I think rewarding for recycling is a good idea - maybe we'll see people combing the countryside roads for discarded drink bottles, cans, and cardboard and making money from their adventure - something our council cannot be bothered doing despite our many calls to clean up the streets.


    This was something we used to do as kids when the glass lemonade bottles had a return value. Didn't do us any harm.

  • Comment number 44.

    BTW - this will encourage certain non-caring people and irresponsible families, on a day out, to take their 'value added' rubbish home for recycling instead of littering everywhere they go?

    That will be the biggest pay back for all who don't and won't litter; yet constantly feel they are a minority sinking under a wave of mindless idiots who do?

  • Comment number 45.

    Both were/are stupid ideas. People shopuld recycle and in order to get them to do this all rubbish should be in council logo'd black bags only. These could be brought from the council at the begiining of th year in say lots of 20 or 50 at £1 per bag. New bags with the council logo on them should be able to be purchased at local shops - not large supermarkets thereby encouaging people to use local shops. Anyone who uses a non council bag will not have their rubbish removed. All recycling items are to be put out in recycl;ing boxes and recycled free of charge. The more you recycle the cheaper it is as you are not using the paid for bags so much

  • Comment number 46.

    How would 'rewards' work?

    Would it be based on the amount of recycled waste you produce?

    Surely, that's not good, as it's best to produce less waste at all, so encouraging waste production (even if it's recyclable waste) isn't sensible.

    Or, would it be based on the percentage of recycled waste?

    If so, then it would still benefit people to dispose of their non-recyclable waste in other ways (neighbours' bins, or fly tipping)

    If it was just a general 'reward' for recycling at all (or penalty for not recycling at all), then it could work to encourage those who can't be bothered recycling anything to start up, but beyond that, I think either way would be problematic.

  • Comment number 47.

    There's nothing new here......

    Many years ago, we had "Rag'n'bone" men knocking on doors taking away your recyclables.

    We also had returnable milk bottles and returnable deposits on other bottles.

    As a kid, we'd love this - we go around collecting discarded bottles to make extra pocket money (whilst keeping the planet tidy, too).

    Also, countries like Australia, put a refundable deposit on cans.

    So why is it so difficult not to reintroduce all of the above and extend the scheme to include plastics?

  • Comment number 48.

    In the Netherlands and other European countries people don't need to be rewarded for recycling; we feel like it is our duty and our responsibility to take care of the environment we live in. It requires a change of mind of the people and also the local councils should provide adequate facilities. It was quiet shocking when I moved to the UK 7 years ago that there were no facilities to recycle batteries, glass, etc, at all. It is slowly improving but we are still not on the level of most continental European countries.

    A better environment starts at home!

  • Comment number 49.

    Several local authorities provide a Compost collection bag, which is collected using 'drive-by', if there is no bag put out the wagon does not stop. Why not try similar schemes for a variety of products, with the bin only being put out by the householder when worth emptying. I would be happy to have a bin for dry paper, for tins, for mixed glass, for some of the recyclable plastics as well as a Dustbin. I accept that many people are incapable of doing anything without a fine but more are willing to 'do their bit' and could operate a scheme that encouraged more recycling.
    There needs to be a rethink on some of the items that the local recycle centre will not accept, with a return to providing a service as well as profit. Items like Car tyres will not be accepted at our local centre, and yet there is effectively NO other place for the occasional old trailer tyre. Until recently there was nowhere to dispose of ni-cad batteries.
    One local council stopped collecting cardboard, and set up central dumps instead. The result is cardboard dumped all over the place and an expensive mess to clear up.
    There is a lack of thinking applied to recycling, varying between the greenies total faith in human nature to the 'if we provide it it might cost money ideas of some Councils'. There has been little real action by Government to reduce the amount of waste generated, no punitive Tax on non-recyclable packaging materials, and few requirements on manufacturers to accept back their own rubbish.
    Providing the facilities must be the main priority, the rest will tend to follow.

  • Comment number 50.

    Recycling is not a holy activity, except in the minds of the middle class people who run Britain (and Europe). It is waste that happens to be industrially reprocessed. People should not be rewarded for creating waste, no matter what form it takes. As the proposal stands, someone who buys three newspapers a day and sticks them in the recycling bin is rewarded but someone who buys no newspapers, so creating no waste, is not rewarded and so is in effect penalised. And since wine bottles are heavier than beer cans, someone who drinks wine is rewarded more than someone who drinks beer. It's all nonsensical, and will reward the middle class (i.e. the rich) because they consume more and so will recycle more, at the expense of ordinary people.

  • Comment number 51.

    It is the duty of every decent citizen to recycle as much as possible. Reducing unnecessary landfill should not be incentivized, otherwise I can see people raiding others' recycling bins and filling theirs with everyone else's in the dead of night, just to get brownie points.

    This is one area where the government has lost sight of the root cause of waste. Consumers do over-consume, but they are not responsible for the extraordinary amount of packaging that comes with produce. The list of offending items is endless - "fresh" vegetable and fruit wrappings from supermarkets, packaging of almost anything bought from a DIY store that needs pliers and bolt-cutters to release, and electrical goods that have not one or two, but THREE layers of non-recyclable polythene so tightly wrapped that it takes several minutes to get at them.

    The worst example I see every month is my medication, which I am given in four cardboard boxes inside a paper bag. Inside each is one or two blister packs, plus a lengthy leaflet telling me for the umpteenth time when, how and why I need the pills. It wasn't too long ago that I was given four little bottles, each with its own pills and, when they were finished with, they were returned to the chemist for re-use. No waste at all.

    The government ought to ban every product made here (not much) or imported that has excessive packaging. Even better, no packaging at all.

  • Comment number 52.

    SO the idea is to reward those who put more in their recycling bin. How is that to be measured? By weighing?

    Also, lets look at two scenarios.

    1/ The ultra green person, who ensures they consume the minimum of anything, and refuse to buy anything that contains even recyclable packaging. They wont put much in their recycling bin will they, whilst those who consume lots will be rewarded.

    2/ Lets head off to the nearest supermarket and grab a load of freebie magazines. Now we put them in the recycling bin, and a voila you get paid for it!

    Can we just forget charging or incentives and concentrate on not producing the waste in the first place.

  • Comment number 53.

    Makes sense, although it's a moral responsibility which people should be only to happy to be involved.

  • Comment number 54.

    Its time the manufacturing industry were charged or fined more because most things we buy these days there is an excess packaging material to be thrown away be it food or material items i.e tvs etc. The markets are the best place to buy food as they don't have the packaging that supermarkets do!

  • Comment number 55.

    Of course people should. The whole idea of penalising people who put rubbish in their bins and not fly tip was a disgrace. People should not recycle over fear, but be encouraged, but I suppose with the Left Wing Politics it's all about punishing rather than rewarding. The point is that people need to be encouraged to be green and recycle. I am all for recycling, a lot more than not using gas or electricity. Recycling can really help the environment more than global warming as it is yet to be proved that global warming is really man made. These adverts trying to say that the more water we use contributes to global warming, what a load of nonsense, water is naturally recycled all the time. It is constantly being recycled back into the environment.
    But yes, reward, not punish. I always said that would encourage people. You want people to want to recycle, not feel that they are doing it to not be punished.

  • Comment number 56.

    Recycling should the norm and people's automatic first inclination. There really is no other long term sustainable way of dealing with our waste. Problem is people seem to balk at being encouraged to recycle ("oh, it's the effort!!") so I suppose if rewarding recycling changes people's habits then it's a good thing.

    Though why people in 2010 can't work out how to separate their rubbish into the various containers or are supposedly too busy (but no doubt found time to watch the endless Britain Got Talent.....), we really are a nation of hopelessness.

  • Comment number 57.

    Just listening to the PM telling us how much we will have to cut, I don't think this scheme stands an earthly chance. Unless, of course, the unemployed are going to have to live by scavenging on landfill sites. Doom!

  • Comment number 58.

    In other countries they encourage recycling by paying deposit for items like drinks bottles which can be washed and reused and as a child my school encouraged us to bring our newspapers for recycling and they were put in a big cage and collected later. Whats good in some councils is that they place recycling bins outside the block of flats so little things like that can encourage recycling

  • Comment number 59.

    This is the best way - it benefits efforts rather than fines us for the lazy few - yet again.

  • Comment number 60.

    If we had to take all recycling materials back to the supermarkets - on our next shopping trip to save petrol - they would certainly look to ways to cut down packaging - and put clear markers on what is able to be recycled.

  • Comment number 61.

    Why reward people?Just fine those people who cannot be bothered to sort out their rubbish.Get 100% sorting out their refuse and lower the council tax bills.Those that pay their council tax will then be rewarded

  • Comment number 62.

    The problem I have with recycling is that our council refuse to take the very materials that so many of us are forced to accept with our shopping. I speak, of course, about plastics.

    Virtually every liquid, except non-alcoholic drink, comes in a plastic bottle or a plastic-lined cardboard box. Whatever happened to recyclable glass bottles with a 2-10 pence reward for their return?

    Major items like electronics still come with bulky and rigid expanded polystyrene packaging. Whatever happened to the recycled and recyclable moulded cardboard "egg box" type of protective supports?

    Most supermarket meat, dairy products and even 'bijou' vegetables now comes in over-sized vacuum-formed plastic containers with heat-sealed lids. Whatever happened to plain vacuum-packed soft plastic wrappings that sealed in the freshness while taking up very little space in the freezer or in the dustbin afterwards?

    Isn't it time that we stopped pandering to the manufacturing, packaging and retail industry's marketing excesses and returned to the era of pre-health and safety dogma? Why don't you repeal these restrictive and anti-conservation disasters of legislation now Mr. Cameron.

  • Comment number 63.

    Just returned from out of town. On the way back I passed the sign saying our council was tackling climate change, then got caught up in the daily queue of cars and vans awaiting their turn to enter the council's recycling centre. All had their engines running, all had given up a morning to queue and recycle. And then I had an amazing idea. Why not employ several lorries to collect rubbish from people's houses, once a week. The council lorries do come for paper, food waste, and a few other things, but obviously there is a lot that they will not collect. We have plenty of rivers and I notice how they are used for recycling old mattresses, bicycles, and electric machines.

  • Comment number 64.

    Yet another stupid idea to keep the euroGreens happy and pretend we can achieve the ridiculous and meaningless targets imposed by the EU.

    Cant wait to see where the money comes from......

    The sooner we tell Brussels to get stuffed once and for all the better!

  • Comment number 65.

    The carrot, especially if it's juicy enough, will always be more successful than the stick.

  • Comment number 66.

    sinistrality wrote:
    Absolutely not. Recycling is its own reward. Period.

    People like this really get my goat - what a load of baloney! I think the governments approach is great - better than the negagivity of the last one!

  • Comment number 67.

    Individuals sorting their own waste into different categories is unbelievably inefficient, time consuming and wasteful of resources. The whole process is so primitive as to fail a fitness for purpose test at just about every point.

    I can think of no other area of life where a useful process is still left to a national cottage industry. We don’t each farm our own small plot of land, we don’t all weave and dye our own clothes and we don’t all build our own mud huts to live in anymore so why do we still fiddle about sorting tiny amounts of waste?

    Modern society dedicates people to specific tasks and then scales those tasks up to fit the entire nation yet for some inexplicable reason we now expect people to sort their own little bits of recycling into multiple small bins which then suffer different collections for different items.

    If we were properly organised then all waste would go into a common household bin, followed by a single collection and delivered to central recycling depots where automated mechanical sorting supplemented by human labour would sort en masse to achieve some sort of economy of scale.

    Not since the birth of public health when we all decided it was best to organise rubbish collection for fear of plague, has there been such a reversal in public health processes such that we now happily hold onto dangerous food wastes for weeks, deliberately fill bins in crowded town certes with waste and encourage illegal dumping pretty much randomly throughout our population centres.

    It is clear we need to move waste collection and recycling forward such that it becomes a) a public cost on central taxation and b) nationally organised.

  • Comment number 68.

    Another rubbish idea from the tories.

    This will only benefit the rich tory toffs who create more waste.

  • Comment number 69.

    #2 wrote "Absolutely not. Recycling is its own reward. Period." Are you serious?

    Recycling where I live is an additional cost over and above the annual council tax which has increased steadily year on year! REALITY: I pay the council for a seperate bin to recycle my garden waste; I use my car at my expense to take cardboard, plastic bottles, and any other recyclable items to the recycling centre.

    "Recycling is its own reward" - GIVE ME A BREAK!

  • Comment number 70.

    I'm with Paul (34) on this one. I no more need an incentive to recycle than I need an incentive not to discharge sewage into my front garden or the street, but the actual destination of all this stuff is a real issue. Are we not exporting countless tonnes of this material to other countries where underpaid workers handle it in unsafe conditions? A detailed (and unbiased, non-sensationalist) report on this is needed. Part of the problem is that an increased level of public understanding of the actual process of recycling ('Look at the nice new things we make from your rubbish!') would be invaluable, but this would expose all the questionable practices involved.

  • Comment number 71.

    Much more sensible than penalising people.

    Penalising people will result in more fly-tipping and particularly unpleasant bonfires (usually bonfires such as this are lit on windless, hot evenings when everybody left their windows open).

  • Comment number 72.

    While encouraging recycling is good, it is treating the symptom and not the cause. Manufacturers and retailers need to be required to reduce the amount of packaging they use and when used it should be recyclable. Far too much packaging is labelled as un-recyclable.

  • Comment number 73.

    The coalition are not stupid. They know that things are going to be so damn difficult for the public over the next few years that any unnecessary "all stick and no carrot" policies have to be avoided at all costs: I think this country's still already close enough to the brink of widespread Greek-style disorder without needlessly fuelling the fire.

  • Comment number 74.

    No I do not agree with this approach.

    If I buy something which leaves an unwanted "residue" I should be able to return the residue to the place where I bought it where it is disposed. Supermarkets, for example, may then begin to manage packaging with a little more concern and interest. It would also ensure that manufacturers begin to work out how to recycle much of the products they make given that TVs, washing machines, and so on will go straight back to them when they "die".

    And if a shop, supplier, manufacturer etc has gone out of business then the administrator will have cause to name a responsible new "disposer".

  • Comment number 75.

    Where I live we have a black bin for general rubbish, a green bin for garden waste and blue bin for recycling. This system works very well. Since the recycling bin was introduced the amount of waste going into the black bin has reduced substantially. We have had a points system on the amount of waste goes into the recycle bin for about 12 months now. I'm not sure that we should be rewarded for being environmentally responsible, I am sure that the bin tax would have caused a great deal of ill will.

    Anyway the system we have works very well here (Halton, Cheshrie). One thing that does bother me (as another poster pointed out) is that I'm not entirely sure what happens to the rubbish from the recycle bin. I do hope it is being recycled but have heard rumours it all ends up in landfill somewhere else.

  • Comment number 76.

    Rearranging the deckchairs.... recycling is better than not but the real solution no one wants to tackle (especially the manufacturers ) is the over production of packaging in the first place.

  • Comment number 77.

    Where does the money come from to reward people? And how does this stop the worst offenders from continuing to offend?

  • Comment number 78.

    Another Logical debate. recycling is designed to protect the planet and reduce waste also reducing the expenditure of our councils, as was the idea to stop binmen walking down your path to collect your fully recyclable metal bin. Im with it so far, I think. We now have 2/3 Plastic unrecyclable wheelie bins and boxes, costing in their £miliions to produce leaving the roads cluttered, unsightly and pavements dangerous and congested with rubbish strewn every where on bin day. and the main item of rubbish that is not collected is plastic milk and soft drinks containers that used to be delivered by recyclable glass bottles that had a life expectancy of over 30 journeys, Maybe im missing something but logic dosent play a big part in this .

  • Comment number 79.

    Rewarding recycling is an excellent idea for a couple of reasons. Firstly it is positive encouragement and ultimately habit-forming which is what we want. Secondly it instills the idea that there is value in recycling.

    What is missing however is the packaging tax which should fund it - plastic wrapped in plastic wrapped in carboard for many cosmetic products as an example is ridiculous.

    Replace one or two houses in the average road with a sensible, managed recycling collection point to reduce the number of bins and amount of collection time and energy wasted. It would then encourage people to walk a bit each day or two as well (if people can do it in blocks of flats then why not on the average road?). You never know it might even foster a greater community spirit by actually meeting your neighbours.

  • Comment number 80.

    At last! We move away from NuLabour"s "Tax and incriminate at every opportunity" system. In most European countries recycling is a normal occurrence. We have yet to get used to that.

    The rewards system is surely better ... Austria, for example, gives a reduction in local taxes to those who maintain window boxes of flowers. The result? A very pretty scene in most places.

    It's not, as they say, rocket science!

  • Comment number 81.

    I recycle most of my refuse and, as a resonsible person, don't expect to be rewarded for doing so. However, the idea of charging per kilo of refuse collection was a stupid one. I already pay for this, out of my council tax!

  • Comment number 82.

    fining over how much you throw out is plain bonkers. this week i had 10 rubbish sacks due to decorating and this and the other. if they want to minimize waste then regulate manufactureres who feel that 4 levels of packaging between you and the product is the reasonable way to do things.

    they don't need to reward people to recycle, they just need to make it more user friendly. if i have 50 beer bottles from saturday night that need rid of, i can't wait untiol the black box day, i have to get to a bottle bank, open all the bags and recycle them one by one by one, whereas alternatively i could just chcuck them all in a bag and throw them into the glass esction at the dump. i'd leave the whole bag of bottles next to the recycling boxes, but then i'd be done for fly-tipping

  • Comment number 83.

    This is a good idea. Of Course it can only ever amount to "Tax relief" as someone has already pointed out , but the harder you work to recycle , the more money you will get back. I love recycling and 90% of my rubbish now consists of polythene wrapping , which is one of the few things you can't recycle.

    I agree that it can look very untidy with all the different bags , bins and boxes. Councils need to get together to come up with a solution to this.

    Those of you praising the altruism of our European neighbours should be aware that many of these countries operate stiff fines enforced by "Bin Police" who go round at night checking people's rubbish for items that should be recycled. I know that this happens in Holland because my In-laws used to live in Amsterdam in the 1990s and fell foul of the system.

  • Comment number 84.

    If people were rewarded for reycling they would certainly do more of it, which is the problem, the councils losing a possible revenue stream here,the point of bin tax to get more money from families who are decent and will pay these targeted fines. Was that not the problem with Livingstone congestion tax, people actually not driving in so the scheme not making any money and so, rather ironicaly, public service prices pushed up to pay for the loss?

  • Comment number 85.

    I think it is a good thing. We need to recycle as much of our waste as we can (alongside using less in the first place!). Rewarding good behaviours will hopefully encourage them. If people put their Friends or Relatives waste in with their own then so be it if the aim is to increase the amount we recyklce then all the better. I think soon we will have to accept that there is a cost implication to how we choose to live.

  • Comment number 86.

    Providing households with an incentive to recycle is a much more sensible way of handling this issue. Just think of the cost to microchip every wheelie bin, providing a weighing platform on every refuse truck, administering the whole process - what a waste of money. Had that idea gone ahead I was quite prepared to buy an incinerator and dispose of my excess rubbish in the garden ! Fly tipping would have increased and the cost of removing that and the other costs would have seen council budgets stretched and broken ( they already are ! ) But thats another debate.

  • Comment number 87.

    I already recycle my rubbish so don't see any reason I should be rewarded for doing so. The recession we are told will be with us for many years to come, we the British taxpayers are already paying the price for bankers mistakes. I suggest we put the available money into our debt recovery instead of rewards for doing the decent thing and keeping Britain tidy. I agree with fines to if people want to live in a filthy society then they should be fined for doing so, the money given to more bin men to aid the unemployment situation created again by Tory policies.Here in our village we have to pay the council for uplifting old furniture and electrical goods on top of the already extortionate council tax.This has caused a problem with people who just cannot afford to pay for their uplift and the goods are being dumped in the river, it is unsightly and a terrible representation of our village.Many foreign visitors use the tow path goodness knows what they think. I say get the communities involved to stop the mess not reward a handful of people.

  • Comment number 88.

    The problem with the idea of a ‘bin tax’ is that people were always going to unlike the idea of paying twice the taxes, once in council tax and again a bin tax.

    Giving recycling points also does not tackle the real problem. Two ideas that really could help:
    1: Privatise all bin collection services
    2. Fine companies for excessive packaging

  • Comment number 89.

    We pay council tax. That is supposed to be for things like collecting the rubbish. Once upon a time the binmen came every week, now it's once every two weeks if you're lucky.

    Councils should stop paying massive expenses and salaries to councillors, chief executives, consultants etc and then there might be some money left to pay for what it's supposed to be used for.

    Councils decided that it was illegal to have open fires. People used to get rid of rubbish by burning it. We can be choked by traffic fumes but not by coal fires (or of course that mysterious 'passive smoking')

    Where does the rubbish come from in the first place? Supermarkets. Supermarkets should be told no more treble wrapping in plastic and give refunds on all bottles etc. If they refuse to do that then all supermarkets should be taxed to pay for the rubbish that they create. It seems crazy that politicians are wittering on about making people pay for 'polluting' carrier bags yet ignore the masses of plastic wrapped around everything bought in a supermarket.

  • Comment number 90.

    We should be encouraged to recycle and ideally rewarded for doing so. The previous idea of punishing us for not doing so sums up the last administration.

  • Comment number 91.

    Have any studies been done to find out which types of people don't recycle - eg if they are busy professional people, they may be willing to pay a voluntary surcharge so they don't have to sort their own waste.
    Bournemouth Council tried to do this through the chips but were excused by the left wing media of 'snooping' although exactly what they expect a council to do with bin data other than provide the correct facilities for you to get rid of rubbish is anyone's guess?

    It seems to me the problem with Britain in general is cynicism. It doesn't matter what the government do people are convinced they are lying to us, people don't believe that recycling has any impact so the majority don't do it. It's why voting is so low, why a growing number of people don't believe in climate change, why Britain is becoming increasingly secular and why as people think all students are lazy and sponge off the system despite them not actually taking a penny from tax payers unless they come from deprived backgrounds. As a nation we disbelieve everything that comes from establishment whether that's national government, local government or religion. People are so cynical that I doubt regardless of incentive or punishment we will ever move to the large scale recycling we see abroad because most people believe everyone else is to blame (particularly evil big business) and what they dohas little impact. How do you change the psyche of a nation? That's the million dollar question but until someone figures that one out Britain will simply chug along not doing much.

  • Comment number 92.

    I can anticipate what will happen in my neighborhood - recycling bins being raided in the middle of the night by people who want to 'top up' their own bins. It's just going to encourage dishonesty and 'bucking the system.'

  • Comment number 93.

    If it's as easy to recycle as not, why would I need an incentive ? As mentioned earlier, councils need to be less picky about what they accept on doorstep collections (mine won't take cardboard boxes for example).

    I'm deluged in coupons from retailers loyalty schemes as it is, the last thing I need are more of them, and the costs of the bureaucracy that will go behind running them. Why don't councils just set a recycling target in their area, and commit to making a small discount on everybody's council tax the following year if it's met. That way it becomes a community effort, there's a bit of peer pressure on everyone, and the effect will be much greater overall.

    Ultimately, if the Government is serious about reducing waste, they MUST tackle the supermarkets and the ludicrous amount of packaging they use. Has anyone asked how they recycle all the out of date / damaged stock they throw away each day ?

  • Comment number 94.

    Another gratifying nail in Labour's "big government" coffin. Lets hope we see other nonsense Labour proposals "binned".

  • Comment number 95.

    It wont change attitudes as some London boroughs dont bother recycling at all. Just moved from one of those boroughs to a new area and have adjusted to recycling with no problems. Now have fortnightly bin collections and a much better attitude to 'binning'. Happy to do it for free!

  • Comment number 96.

    Any scheme which involves assessing how much is in the individual bin will be massively expensive and is a diversion away from what we are trying to achieve. I also suspect that 90% of waste is supermarket generated and that they should be major contributors to waste collection, perhaps being given responsibility for collecting the majority of plastic, paper and cardboard that they generate because at the moment they are making profits at the expense of the local authority. People want to recycle and are pleased to do it, they don't need a boot up their backside or draconian local authorities but they do need good local sorting plants and non recyclables should go to energy from power plants which have a superb safety record and are safely in use all over the world.

  • Comment number 97.


    It should be our duty to Mankind and the enviroment. Having said that the method of recycling should be as easy and efficient as possible.

    If councils however, are crazy enough to have multi-paged, multi-faceted recyling methods,then yes, the time taken/used by citizens in following, with due care, the proceedures should be rewarded.

  • Comment number 98.

    Keith 41:-

    "Wind-Blown. What has happened in your life to make you so cynical?"

    You may be interested to know I am an avid recycler who despairs at the cynical dumping of waste in our countryside and dropping of litter just about everywhere.

    To answer your question, I am not a cynic. I am a realist with idealistic overtones. Luckily I am bright enough to spot a con and stealth tax when I come across them. The government supported scheme is just a veneer, a repackaging of the Labour scheme.

    Waste disposal has to be paid for. An increasing proportion will, in time, be paid for by recycling. Meanwhile, the government is proposing not to charge people who dump too much. So, how does this proposed source of income get replaced as local government plans for the future? Well you cover it by raising all our council taxes, but you don't tell people that the raise is partly to cover for not fining excessive dumpers. You then turn round and incentivise people for recycling a lot. People think this is great. 'How wonderful!' 'How creative.' What they won't have spotted is that they will already be paying more in council tax and that, at very best, they will be back at square one financially speaking.

    I am also a realist when I see Cameron telling us how much worse the country's financial state is than he thought. Tut Tut. That is the oldest trick in the book. What excellent cover that is for cutting government back. How convenient it is to have a global economic crisis as an excuse to carry out old Tory dogma. Spend as little as you can on public services and hope that the business will respond by investing in manufacturing.

    Unfortunately, in the past the Tories have never found that this worked. What business needs is money in people's pockets so it's worth investing in manufacturing goods. That is not going to happen with these poorly-timed cuts.

    Finally, I don't apologise for using the term 'ConDemed'. This is my opportunity to get back at those who dished out 'NooLab' and 'Bliar' week after week. I will stop using it when I get bored with it. Hopefully this will be long after you have lost the will to live.

  • Comment number 99.

    I can only think that those people who have commended our European neighbours for their commitment to recycling and keeping their streets tidy have never visited Paris, Berlin, Rome, Madrid or the outskirts of any Greek village, where fly tipping is endemic.

  • Comment number 100.

    Should recycling be rewarded? - only if it is more cost effective than incineration to generate power.

    Someone also needs to demonstrate that we aren't making landfill capacity at the same or greater rate as we're using it, to show there is a problem to solve rather than just an EU wide approach based on countries with high % incineration. Does mineral / aggregate extraction rate exceed landfill dumping or not ?


Page 1 of 6

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.