Insights from the UK and beyond
Cash for Trash? Tories offer a recycling sweetner
It’s unlikely to steal the election, but it nevertheless got heads turning and newspapers gnashing.
The centrepiece of their eye-catching plans to tackle global warming was a scheme where households will be rewarded cash incentives to recycle mountains of trash.
UK households generate around 35 millions of tonnes of waste a year, according to the party. Only around a fifth of that rubbish is recycled – less than half the proportion managed in Germany.
The novel, if not original, idea is that families will accumulate points for all the waste they diligently box up. The points can then be used to claim up to 130 pounds a year in vouchers from big stores like Marks & Spencer, which has already signed up to the scheme.
Shadow Chancellor George Osborne in a keynote speech said the savings made in landfill taxes would pay for the vouchers, thereby saving the need for any extra government spending. He has some evidence to prove that it works too.
The scheme has already been piloted by a Tory-run local council with recycling rates rising by 30 percent. Osborne also reported that over half of all eligible households in Windsor and Maidenhead, in Berkshire had chosen to participate.
Moreover, Recyclebank, the American firm behind the idea which is working closely with the local authorities here, says it has successfully increased recycling rates by up to 200 percent in 500 cities and communities across America.
The Tories say Labour’s desire to encourage more recycling has backfired with the threatened use of dustbin taxes that penalise householders who do nothing to recycle. “Carrots work better than sticks,” Osborne said.
Do you think the sweetener would work nationally? And will it encourage you to recycle, to eventually go out and do even more, er, shopping?