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Can we reward communities, businesses, etc for properly disposing and recycling?

It sounds like there is a major problem with the way we handle our garbage. I know that many communities and/or businesses treat every trash as general "trash" but can we recognize or reward people for getting rid of garbage the right way?

  • Nov 18 2013: I like the idea of an incentive for recycling. I personally would like to see what they do down in Mexico. I travel to Baja often and really enjoy the incentive they give for saving your glass bottles. You buy a case of a beverage and keep the bottles and when you have finished the case you take the bottles back to the store you bought them from and you get enough money back for them to buy yourself a small treat or soda.
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      Nov 18 2013: Devon,
      I like the idea of an incentive for recycling as well, and Vermont (the state where I live) has container deposit laws, and a recycling program with money back for bottles and cans.....kind of like what you mention above.

      I know several states have this program, and I was curious to learn how many, so I looked it up. Unfortunately, ONLY 11 states in the U.S. have container deposit laws! That is surprising to me because it seems to work REALLY well....not only for recycling purposes, but also to keep bottles and cans off the streets. So the program helps the environment in a couple different ways:>)
  • Nov 16 2013: Well the easiest way would be to give us a recyle credit on our taxes. That way we could see a phsyical effect of our recycling, a reward for good behaviour, instead of punishment. The reward system has always worked better than punishment. Punishment just leads to depression which leads to more bad behaviour. The reward system leads to enlightenment which leads to more good behaviour. I used it succesfully with my children for years and it worked like a charm.
  • Nov 22 2013: I'm glad you asked Daniel, as I'm actually trying to build a mechanism based on this very idea in Ireland as we speak. It's not only concerned with recycling though; I also hope to target consumption (remember the first of the three Rs!) alongside other quantifiable issues, such as organ donation. Like Keith below, I believe that a form of tax credit is the best way of going about these sort of issues - possibility of reward is always a positive motivator. However, national competitions are also an underexplored option. If you (or anyone else in this thread for that matter) would like to hear more about it I would love to hear your perspectives on my proposal, so feel free to send me a message.
  • Nov 18 2013: I believe that making recycling a priority is very important. One way to increase the amount people recycle is by having incentives. In California, you can recycle your aluminum cans for five cents which encourages people to recycle more. Another good way to get people to properly dispose of their trash is has more specific dumping locations. It is common to see people who have only one trash can which they dump everything into. If we can make it so that separating your trash is very easy then you would not need a reward/incentive as much. Lastly, it all comes down to education. Once everyone understands how damaging trash can be to our planet and community then recycling can become a norm in our society.
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    Nov 16 2013: In the village where I live, trash and recyclable materials are picked up once a week, and the cost for this service averages about $20.00 a month per household, which is added onto our property tax bill. The trash company charges MORE per ton for trash than for recycled materials, so the more people recycle, the less the town pays the trash/recycling company, which can be reflected in our taxes. I think the amount charged per ton for trash or recycled materials varies from place to place.
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    Nov 16 2013: I have a major issue with social engineering in general. I much prefer free market approaches, as anyone who has read my comments on here will know already. It's been done. Think about it the next time you buy a bottle of soda. You're paying a deposit on it to "reward" you if you recycle. However, most people now recycle in bulk and don't go to the recycling machines. That means all the cash just ends up in the pockets of those in government.
  • Nov 16 2013: I think we can reward people for recycling because it will give good incentive for people to help with keeping the planet clean and safe for future generations. Recycling will also reduce on the over waste in our landfills.
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    Nov 16 2013: If you do an internet search for "incentives to recycle," you will get very high quality hits. It will then just be a matter of your picking which references most usefully address for your purpose.