How to inculcate the habit of segregation and recycling at community level?

Some new and some tested ways for promoting people to recycle – ‘Carrot and stick’ policy – Focus here is on the ‘carrot’ bit…the first point showcases a new idea while the second point elaborates on a time-tested idea

  1. Reverse Vending Machines (as started by Bee’ah, a Sharjah Environment Company) – Recycle plastic bottles and aluminium cans, and get shopping vouchers of participating outlets)…
  2. In residential areas, door-to-door collection of recyclables is a tested option, especially successful in developing countries like India. 

For this option to work, it is important to give incentives, howsoever, small to residents, to segregate waste and give it for recycling.

The incentives may be in the form of some vouchers of a nearby supermarket/hypermarket, for a fixed amount of recyclables deposited in a fixed duration of time.

The recyclables which have high possibility of being collected are plastic bags and packaging material, cardboard packaging material, plastic toys, pens, old newspapers and magazines.

Of course, it would mean substantial investment at the municipality and environmental organization level. The investment would primarily be in the form of recruiting staff for door-to-door collection, proper staff training, spreading awareness among the residents in the form of training workshops/advertisements, and necessary tools and techniques to make the accounting process transparent and efficient. 

Once the process takes off, and even a small segment of residential community comes to term with this essential activity, recycling becomes a ‘house-hold phenomenon’; in literal sense…Due to ripple and domino effects, a wider base of residents will be encouraged to recycle!

End-result: Substantial part of 2.1 kg of waste generated per capita, (by a UAE resident as per Bee’ah estimates) recycled!

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