Saturday, March 19, 2011

To encourage recycling, it pays to learn from zer best.

The Germans are well known for taking their recycling seriously, helping this along has been coming up with effective ways of encouraging people to recycle. Leo Hickman reports from Neustadt an der Weinstrasse where 70% of waste is recycled.

So how do that do it? Simple really, residents pay for every bag of rubbish they create, while recycling collection is absolutely free. The charge for waste is separated from rates so people know exactly how much money their rubbish is costing them. So, the less waste you create, the less you pay.

The reason for Neustadt's success is simple, says Weiss. "It's all about providing financial incentives and education. We don't charge citizens anything for the recycled waste they leave out. And the less waste you put out for incineration – we've had no landfill in Germany since 2005 – the less you pay.

"Having no incentive to reduce waste is poisonous to your aims. We have a separate, visible fee that is intentionally not embedded within a local tax."

Clearly the scheme works. And why wouldn't it...

A car towing a trailer full of construction waste pulls up at the weigh-station by the entrance gate. Weiss wanders over to inspect the contents. "This weighs about half of tonne. If will cost €270 to dump it as it is. Or if the car owner sorts it into separate types of waste — timber, paper, plasterboard etc — it will cost him just €17. That, in summary, is our system. We provide a major incentive to recycle."

1 comment:

  1. Seems so sensible! More so than weekly rubbish collections, fortnightly recycling collection and user pays green waste collection. I think the BCC has it backwards.