A couple from Hampshire have hit the news by collecting enough AirMiles from recycling litter they picked up from the streets at the local Tesco store. It’s one of those ‘and finally’ stories that run at the end of the news, but it does raise a few interesting questions (not all of them entirely serious)…
- how does the cost of the flights compare to the costs the Council would have incurred collecting the litter? Does this point the way to cost savings where Councils close their street cleaning departments and award holidays and consumer white goods to people who bring in litter?
- are Tesco aware of the irony of rewarding the green activities of people with Clubcard points which are subsequently converted to AirMiles, these in turn being converted into huge amounts of carbon dioxide?
- did Ann Till collect all the litter herself, or did she have a mob of small cartoon characters driving around in a car to help her? If you don’t get that joke then please Google ‘Penelope Pitstop’.
However, this does point the way to capturing the public’s imagination and boosting recycling. Could such incentives to recycle point the way to a positive ‘pay by weight’ scenario? Certainly if glass and other dry recyclables were taken to supermarkets and other ‘community locations’ then the collection becomes much more financially and environmentally efficient than sending a vehicle to every house every fortnight.