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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 August 2006, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
Rubbish-charge scheme considered
Rubbish bags on the street
People could be charged for the waste produced
People could pay for the amount of rubbish they produce under plans being considered by the government.

Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw said the amount of waste produced needed to be cut alongside more recycling.

The proposal comes as the government says more people are recycling their rubbish because they are being offered prizes like money and cars to do so.

It said this and more funding for local schemes had helped raise recyclables collected in half of UK regions.

The government has been consulting since launching a review of its waste strategy.

Mr Bradshaw said: "One of the things we will be considering as part of our review of waste strategy is whether we should introduce a 'polluter pays' principle.

"And that is you pay for the amount of waste that you produce because in the end as well as recycling we have to try to reduce and minimise the amount of waste that we produce in the first place."

We still have some of the poorest recycling rates in Europe
Friends of the Earth

Schemes to encourage recycling have been funded by a 3.5m grant from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

More than 50 pilot projects were also run by local authorities to examine ways of convincing people to reduce, re-use and recycle the waste that they produce.

Individual prizes were offered in some schemes, while in others communities were rewarded with funding for local initiatives and improvements.

This resulted in more recycling in some areas, together with a reduction in contamination from waste in others.

The government said it was happy with the improvements but acknowledged more needed to be done.

'Radical changes needed'

Mr Bradshaw said: "We've trebled recycling since 1997 but we're going to have to do much better still if we are to tackle climate change and avoid huge fines for breaking European landfill limits.

"We are all going to have to change our behaviour radically and these incentive schemes show it's possible."

The increase in recycling was welcomed by the Friends of the Earth but the pressure group warned much more needed to be done to catch up with other European countries.

Group campaigns director Mike Childs said "we still have some of the poorest recycling rates in Europe, and so the government has to look at ways of encouraging people to recycle more.

"This may involve charging people for the amount of rubbish they produce but providing them with a free recycling service."

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