Prize draws, lotteries and scratch cards, are among a range of schemes to encourage households to recycle their rubbish which are being launched.
Recycling has become increasingly common in recent years
Around 50 ideas are being piloted nationwide to find out which most successfully encourage recycling.
Environment minister Ben Bradshaw said the government wanted new ways to encourage the practice and help people "to fit recycling into their lives".
Almost a quarter - 23% - of UK rubbish is recycled compared to 7.5% in 1996.
The schemes, which are backed by £3.5m from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), aim to make recycling even more commonplace.
Under the new approach, households in some areas will be offered rewards, including cash, prizes or shopping vouchers for regular recycling.
And in other parts of the country councils will enter recyclers into lotteries or offer them scratch cards in return for sifting through their rubbish.
Successful initiatives are likely to be rolled out nationwide.
Mr Bradshaw said: "Getting people to change their behaviour is a challenge, and recycling is no exception.
"While there are millions of dedicated recyclers, there are still many families and people who have yet to start recycling regularly."
The reduction of rubbish will be the main aim of a number of projects, with councils aiming to ensure that food waste goes for compost, rather than landfill sites.
Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council will enter regular recyclers in social housing into weekly draws for a prize of £1,000.
Meanwhile, primary school pupils in Lancashire who encourage friends and families to pledge to recycle their rubbish will be able to earn points towards computers and sports equipment for their schools.