Recycling is a very hot topic for communities these days, especially in London which has the highest carbon footprint per person in the country. To give you some idea of the extent of the problem, the average UK citizen produced 12.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. However, this pales in comparison to London residents whose footprint is actually 25% higher. In order to address this problem, numerous recycling initiatives have been conceived across London to try and bring our nation’s capital in line with the rest of the country.
One of the most innovative ideas comes from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea which has created a new scheme to encourage residents to recycle responsibly. Locals have been asked to include their contact information on the back of golden tickets and place them in their recycling bags. Tickets are then picked randomly at the Western Riverside Waste Authority processing plant and entered into a draw for cash prizes. However, the bag has to contain clean and suitable recyclables otherwise the ticket will be rejected. Books of golden tickets have been sent to all residents and additional tickets can be printed at the Western Riverside Waste Authority website.
Community groups and associations are also able to take part with the chance of winning up to £2,500, which can be spent on a project of their choice. In return, they have been asked to sign up to ‘pledges’ aimed at encouraging more effective recycling in their local area. These could include compost schemes and the installation of more recycling bins for bottles and other items.
The Golden Ticket scheme is the result of a grant awarded to the Western Riverside Waste Authority by the government which aims to introduce recycling reward initiatives. The waste authority is one of London’s largest and oversees recycling services for the boroughs of Hammersmith, Fulham, Lambeth and Wandsworth.
The idea isn’t actually a new one with Manchester and Bury councils already employing similar green schemes for their residents. Somewhat surprisingly, Reading University has also done the same in order to encourage reluctant students to recycle more at the end of term.
While encouraging more recycling has the potential to play an important role in reducing our carbon footprint, ensuring that only suitable items are included in recycling bags can save councils a great deal of money. The cost of dealing with contaminated recycling is a big problem for London boroughs and has knock-on effects for other public services as well as increasing our council taxes. So the emphasis on including only clean and suitable items means that authorities are able to save millions of pounds each year.
The Golden Ticket scheme has already proved successful in areas outside London and it is hoped that by incentivising recycling, London boroughs will be able to reduce an already sky-high carbon-footprint while at the same time reducing exorbitant processing costs for local authorities. Although these are extremely challenging goals, these new initiatives provide some hope for the future.
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