Bins that reward recyclers may help clean up the streets

Government review wants household habits to continue when people step outside


Too many people are abandoning their green credentials when they step outside their front door, ministers will warn this week as they unveil a blueprint to encourage more recycling on the go.

Progress has been made in encouraging domestic recycling, but while diligently separating glass, plastics and tins at home, people on the move are dumping a mountain on the street, officials believe.

Recycling machines which recompense shoppers for disposing of litter could be installed in high streets across the country as part of the Government's waste review, to be published on Tuesday.

Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, will admit that litter "remains at persistently high levels" and that recycling in stations, shopping malls and stadiums is "nowhere near as easy" as in the home. About 40 per cent of household rubbish is recycled today, up from 11 per cent in 2000/01.

The review will warn that a lack of outdoor recycling schemes could undermine the coalition's ambition for a "zero waste" economy where nothing is sent to landfill.

Ideas being studied include "reverse-vending machines", where a can or plastic bottle is placed in a chute and money is returned to the user. They are popular in Norway and the US and are now being piloted in a dozen Tesco stores, offering ClubCard points or donations to charities for each item recycled. Some town halls have begun installing separate street bins for paper, plastic and metal but risk angering opponents of street clutter.

"We have made good progress in recent years, but there's definitely more we can do to make sure we're recycling and reusing as much as possible. If we do that, it's better for both the environment and the economy, and it should be a priority," a government source said.

Officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are also looking at ways to make music festivals and sporting events greener, by encouraging organisers to use cups and packaging that is easily recyclable. "If people cannot recycle when out and about, it breaks the link in the behaviours they practise at home, and undermines our wider ambition to make full use of the resources we produce," the review will say.

Newspapers and drinks and food packaging will carry messages encouraging people to recycle, and it will be made easier for Scout groups and school litter clubs to hand over rubbish they pick up. Manufacturers will also be told to cut packaging on toys, mobile phones and household goods.

Mrs Spelman will hope the focus on recycling deflects attention from a growing row over weekly bin collections. Senior ministers, including Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, have repeatedly pledged to abolish fortnightly collections after complaints that they lead to overflowing bins and encourage rats. The waste review will make clear that a return to weekly collections – which would cost £130m – is not on the cards. One government source said Mr Pickles was still "battling" with Defra and, contrary to reports, had not given up on the pledge.

In the meantime, ministers will "turn their fire on fly-tippers and 'neighbours from hell' who allow rubbish to pile up outside their house". The review will recommend the end of bin fines – which can be up to £110 – for people who put rubbish in the wrong box or overfill wheelie bins. Changes to the law will mean fines can be issued only if a new legal test of "harm to local amenity" is met.

The Government will emphasise that "rewards and recognition" through vouchers or discounts are a better way to encourage recycling than "enforcement and penalties".

Ministers will rule out imposing recycling targets on English councils, despite the UK's agreement to an EU target to recycle 50 per cent of all waste by 2020. Northern Ireland, meanwhile, has a goal of 60 per cent by 2020; and Scotland and Wales are both aiming for 70 per cent by 2025.

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'