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An incentive scheme aims to motivate people to recycle and reuse their waste by rewarding these actions with either a community or individual reward.

The UK Government launched its Recycling Rewards and Recognitions fund in 2011, with up to £2 million available to support local authorities between 2011/12 and 2013/14.

This reignited the incentives debate in the UK, which dates back to 2005, when Defra introduced their Household Incentives Pilot Scheme. This paper will look at the history of carrot and stick approaches to driving recycling improvements in the UK.

A number of the 31 schemes funded to date will be analysed to consider the impacts of the incentive scheme and question the cost-effectiveness of this approach to enhancing local recycling performance.

Initial findings suggest they work in areas with an already engaged public, but have struggled more in areas with more transient populations, lower incomes and more high-rise accommodation.

Download technical paper here.

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