Press release

New funding to reward families for recycling - not fine or bully them

Eric Pickles announces new fund to help families recycle, without facing the threat of unfair bin fines or cuts to bin collection services.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, announced a new £5 million fund today (29 August 2014) to help families recycle, without facing the threat of unfair bin fines or cuts to their bin collection services.

The extra funding will help councils with weekly collections increase their recycling rates, by giving incentives - such as shopping vouchers and loyalty rewards - to households who recycle. This follows a commitment in the Coalition Agreement to help support such schemes.

This move comes as the Deregulation Bill before Parliament is set to abolish the powers that hit households with unfair bin fines for breaching complex and arbitrary waste rules. The new fund will only be open to councils offering weekly collections, with ministers sending a clear signal that councils only offering fortnightly collections will lose out on government funding.

The scheme builds on the success of around 40 projects already supported by government money to trial and pilot reward programmes. The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead’s reward scheme was the first of its kind in this country when it launched in 2010. The council lets thousands of residents earn points for recycling, which they can then spend at local shops. This has been a big success and boosted recycling in the borough by more than a third (35%).

Eric Pickles said:

It is a myth that fortnightly bin collections or unfair bin fines are needed to increase recycling. Rewards for recycling show how working with families can deliver environmental benefits without the draconian approach of punishing people and leaving out smelly rubbish.

This government is protecting the local environment by supporting recycling, as well as championing weekly collections which protect local amenity and public health. Councils with fortnightly collections will not receive government funding and are short-changing their residents with an inferior service.

There is an alternative to the town hall bin barons who pushed through fortnightly bin collections and are now trying to move to monthly bin collections by stealth.

Further information

About the fund

The fund is open to all councils in England operating free weekly bin collections (of residual waste and/or weekly food/organic waste). Councils with fortnightly collections are not eligible.

Bids to the fund close on 7 November 2014. Successful bids will be announced in January 2015 and the money will be paid from April 2015.

See more information on this website.

Supporting frontline services

To date, this government in England has:

  • issued the first ever Whitehall guidance on weekly bin collections, demolishing the myths that fortnightly bin collections are needed to save money or increase recycling
  • stopped Audit Commission inspections which marked down councils who do not adopt fortnightly rubbish collections, and rejected Audit Commission guidance which advocated fortnightly collections
  • abolished the Local Area Agreements and National Indicator 191 imposed by Whitehall which created perverse incentives to downgrade waste collection services
  • scrapped the Whitehall requirement for municipal Annual Efficiency Statements, which allowed a reduction in the frequency of a household rubbish collection service to qualify as a ‘valid efficiency’ and allowed revenue from bin fines to be classed as a ‘cashable efficiency gain’
  • scrapped the imposition of eco-towns which would have had fortnightly bin collections and/or bin taxes as part of the ‘eco-standards’
  • safeguarded weekly collections for 6 million households through the Weekly Collection Support Scheme as well as championing innovation and best practice
  • supported over 40 innovative reward schemes to back recycling through the Weekly Collection Support Scheme (as pledged in the Coalition Agreement)
  • through the Localism Act, revoked the 2008 legislation that allowed for the imposition of new bin taxes
  • issued guidance to stop the imposition of illegal ‘backdoor bin charging’ on households bins
  • removing powers of entry and snooping powers from inspectors and scrapped guidance telling councils to rifle through families’ bins
  • changing building regulations to tackle ‘bin blight’
  • changing the law through the Deregulation Bill to scrap unfair bin fines

Pilot reward schemes are operating in:

  • Barking & Dagenham
  • Barnet
  • Bath & North East Somerset
  • Bedford
  • Bexley
  • Birmingham
  • Blaby
  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Bournemouth
  • Brent
  • Camden
  • Cornwall
  • Coventry
  • Dudley
  • Ealing
  • Havering
  • Lambeth
  • Lewes
  • Lewisham
  • Manchester
  • Medway
  • Middlesbrough
  • Northamptonshire Waste Partnership
  • Nottingham
  • Poole
  • Portsmouth
  • Reading
  • Sandwell
  • South Holland
  • Southampton
  • Southend-on-Sea
  • Sunderland
  • Sutton
  • Watford
  • Windsor & Maidenhead
  • Wolverhampton

Office address and general enquiries

2 Marsham Street


Media enquiries

Published 29 August 2014