Systematic studies of shop and leisure voucher incentives for household recycling

Marie Harder, Ryan Woodard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work reports on a series of medium scale trials of various voucher based incentives schemes for household recycling carried out in England. They show that increases of 10 - 20% in participation rates can be achieved with 3-month schemes. The results are drawn from 15 sub-projects carried out in 6 districts where parameters such as voucher value, type of shops used, demographics and community types were varied overall, allowing their effects to be explored. Surprisingly, the results show that the success does not depend on the affluence of the areas. Statistically strong data shows little difference across deprivation indices. Successful schemes were those where the vouchers were awarded on an individual household basis (very important), the value of each voucher was over £1 (€0.60), and the shops or facilities they are valid for were within half a mile (with suggestions from the public that if usable at supermarkets they would travel further). Although some improvements were seen in areas where participation rates were already over 65%, the schemes are more successful in areas which are not already achieving so highly, right down to those below 20%. Although schemes can be designed for maximum effect in small targeted areas, they could also be used on a large scale if e.g. supermarket vouchers were used. The study also reports on the costs of the schemes, which range from £5.15 per household to £12.10 per household over 3 months (including monitoring work). Possible savings of up to 50% are indicated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)732-753
Number of pages22
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2007


  • Household waste
  • incentive
  • recycling
  • voucher
  • reward
  • deprivation
  • participation rate
  • set out rate
  • supermarket
  • trial
  • UK


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