As I was told by Mr Maltby my sports teacher: ‘Points mean prizes,’ and the same goes for recycling.
That’s the conclusion of both Caroline Spelman, environment secretary of state, and Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government. They have given their backing to the RecycleBank incentive scheme which is operated by contractor Veolia ES in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
This decision should be welcomed by the whole of the retail and packaging sector as well as the recycling industry. No longer will piles of empty packaging cluttering the kitchen be seen as a problem which shoppers are forced to recycle. Instead people will now get a chance to do their bit for the environment and make a bit of money out of it in the form of money-off voucher. These vouchers can then be spent at local retailers – so everyone is a winner.
What I really like about this system is that it creates a real incentive to recycle. People have to opt into the scheme, giving them a choice and a real sense that they have chosen to do something sustainable. As any communications professional knows positive participation is far more effective than coercion, as the Windsor and Maidenhead pilot scheme has already demonstrated.
If the policy change is successful, we should see the wide-spread adoption of voucher schemes. This will help transform shoppers’ attitudes to packaging waste and turn recycling from a worthy, nice-to-do activity into something which combines environmental and financial benefits. I think that could be the first step to a much greater adoption of sustainable ways of living and wider understanding of the valuable role that packaging and recycling play.
Michael Bennett of Pelican Communications.
Pelican Communications are specialists in the environment, food and drink, outdoor and leisure and packaging sectors and offer a range of services such as media relations, brand management, event management and people development. Contact us for marketing and communications expertise.