3 Ways to Incentivize People to Recycle & Re-Use
There is no doubt that incentives drive people into action. The most effective incentive is monetary. For example, people are more likely to follow rules and regulations if they know they will be fined for violating them. Also, when financial rewards are offered in connection to the capture of a criminal people are more likely to assist the authorities. Both of those examples work because the financial incentives associated with them motivate people to act. Similar principles can be associated with recycling and reducing waste.
The first method is exactly the same method that has been used with metals in the past. Each person who is participating starts an account with a recycling company. That company then reimburses the participating individuals based on the total weight of plastic, glass, or other material. This transaction would be tabulated at the location where participant drops off the materials. The money earned would go directly to the persons account.
The second incentive is public recognition. It should not be a surprise that people would like to be public recognized when they do something that is beneficial to the community. At the end of the year, the person who was able to reduce their waste and/or recycle the most would be given a cash prize. Not only would they receive recognition throughout the year but they could be financially rewarded as well.
The third incentive is to support the manufacture of repurposed products for sale. Repurposed plastic items, unlike recycled plastic, do not require melting or any significant processing. The plastic is simply used for a different purpose or integrated into a different product. Grand Imperial, a clothing and draw cord bag manufacturer, integrates plastic bottle caps into the construction of their bags. Organizations like the Advertising Council (AdCouncil) could promote these products with donations from environmentally friendly groups. This would increase public awareness and create and environment for companies who repurpose plastic to flourish.
These simple ideas can have a lasting positive impact on the environment and the economy. With a little effort and hard work the correct incentive can be put into place.