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Recycling Reward system that promotes Reduction

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Anne Nzioki 1 year ago.

Anne Nzioki anne-nzioki

Recycling Reward system that promotes Reduction

15/06/2018 at 19:06

I’d like to set up a plastic recycling space and obtain the plastic through a program that rewards the community for recycling. I however noticed a loophole in this. Rewards for recycling may encourage people to create waste.

How might I encourage waste reduction behaviour in the light of an incentivized recycling program?

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05/07/2018 at 13:28

Hi Anne
I’m not sure of the answer, but I am interested in this question too. I don’t think an incentive will increase waste, it’s more likely the ’entrepreneurs’ will collect other people’s plastic which wouldn’t have been recycled otherwise.
What kinds of incentives were you thinking of? I was thinking about an entry ticket into a raffle or something similar, maybe for an item made from the recycled plastic.
Cheers Karen

11/07/2018 at 09:07

I’ve been thinking a lot about this, as I’m in the research & planning phase of bringing plastic recycle & on-site re-manufacturing to Anchorage, Alaska. The best model in my opinion would be to reward virtual points based on recycle material weight (points per unit of weight could vary or just be for all plastic total). These points could then be used to get up to 25% or 50% off the price of some items made from the shop. That way you still have some actual positive cash flow coming in, and don’t have to worry about getting “upside down” where you are paying more out for plastic recycling cash rewards than you are brining in for products.

The whole angle would be to bring in your single-use-plastic recycle, and while you are there support the local recycler and the overall concept by purchasing a more durable item made from recycled single-use.

If you just gave cash for plastic, then people may go out of their way to bring more in as you mention (purchasing more single-use-plastic products), or you just might run out of cash if you have way more people bringing plastic in than purchasing manufactured goods from you.

If the only reward is a discount on purchasing something made from recycled plastic from the “recycle shop” itself, then you might also filter out people recycling just for the money (who might not care as much and bring in incorrect/unwashed material) and end up attracting people that really believe in the idea of local re-manufacture from recycled material (who will probably do a better job sorting and cleaning their raw material).

18/09/2018 at 19:28

Hi all,
to reduce plastic waste we need to change consumption models and packaging design – i.e less plastic/more reusable packaging …but keeping LCA as the guiding factor.
waste is a total system design & lifestyle problem.
if i may rephrase your dilemma anne – i’d probably say “giving rewards for better separation and collection leads to more quality recycling” there.fixed.
Not as easy as it may sound, but heres an example of an interesting grassroots neighbourhood initiative in amsterdam using a plastic token system with participating local businesseshttps://wastedlab.nl/en/#introduction.
not sure if they are still operating-possibly due to a partial reliance on subsidie


21/11/2018 at 13:04

Thank you all for the replies.  The recycling collection station will be located in a low income region of Uganda at a shop for groceries. Offering tokens for collected plastic/glass/paper in the shop is the overall idea. The collected items for recycling will be passed on to a local recycler

Terry, the rewards for better separation would indeed be key! Thanks Kyle for the information, discount for items in the shop would go a long way. Karen, I hope the replies helped a bit.

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