Recycling Rewards is Green Waste Say Tories

Criticism for new scheme launched April 1st

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It's being claimed that a new scheme to encourage more recycling in Ealing is a waste of taxpayers' money and could even leave some residents worse off.

Ealing Council has partnered with Green Redeem - a subsidiary of waste management firm Grundon - to try and increase the proportion of waste recycled from 41% to 50% by 2020.

Residents need to register and are awarded ten points (worth 3.33p) for reporting that they have recycled each week, the accrued points - worth up to £70 in savings annually - can be exchanged for discounts and offers.

The scheme will be based on trust and individual households' weekly recycling won't be monitored - but the council says it will be watching tonnages at the collection round level, and comparing against participation levels in the scheme.

£720,601 has been allocated for the rewards scheme, from a £1.1m fund awarded by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Launching it today (April 1st), Council Leader Julian Bell said: ''I am delighted we are introducing this new Residents’ Rewards Scheme for those who recycle. Being green will now be even better for your pocket, with discounts at local and national stores, and there will also be opportunities to support local projects.''

It's believed around £300k has been spent on a major marketing campaign with leaflets dropping through doors and posters around the borough. The Conservative group on Ealing Council say they have great concerns.

Cllr Phil Taylor, Opposition Spokesman on Environment said: '' It is quite outrageous that Labour is running such a large advertising campaign so near to a local election.  This sum is something like ten times the amount that a political party in Ealing is allowed to spend on its entire local election campaign.'' 

The Conservatives believe the scheme may even lead to some residents being out of pocket - if you haven't got a computer and have to phone it will cost 5p per minute - more than the value of points earned.

Cllr Taylor continued: ''I wish it were an April’s Fool joke that Labour was playing on residents; but it’s not.  Labour’s bespoke Greenredeem Scheme is nothing but an expensive marketing campaign using taxpayers’ funds.

''The Scheme is not linked to actual participation and is instead linked to residents making weekly pledges, taking quizzes or referring friends.  Who has the time to do this?  If you claim by phone you need to be quick or the call will cost more than the points are worth!

''If Labour was really serious about encouraging people to recycle more, they would scrap the £40 garden tax and get the waste and recycling service to actually work.  Then maybe the joke would stop being on residents.''

Liberal Democrat Cllr Jon Ball, says: '' Recycling rates in Ealing have stalled since confidence in recycling was hit by the failure of the contractor Labour introduced. If, as is hoped, Greenredeem increases recycling rates and so reduces the amount that the Council has to pay in landfill tax, it's money well spent.

''However, as I discovered by asking questions during the scrutiny process, the scheme does not monitor how much people actually recycle, so it depends on the honesty of Ealing residents to log on and say what they've recycled. Also, the phone line is not worth having at 5p a minute.''

An Ealing Council spokesperson said they expect most residents will generally register for the scheme for free:

''For those choosing to record their recycling each week by telephone, the cost of a one minute call is 5p from a BT landline or £2.60 per year. On average, we expect residents to benefit from rewards from national and local partners worth around £70 per year, so for those people not able to access the internet, or a smartphone app, the benefits will significantly outweigh the small cost.''


1st April 2014