What better way to encourage people to recycle than by paying them to do it.

That is essentially what Tauranga City Council voted to support this week.

The council decided to back a Local Government Association remit for the return to the days when soft drink and beer bottles carried a deposit.

If passed at the national conference, it would result in the organisation that represents New Zealand's councils asking the Government to bring in a deposits on bottles scheme within two years.


To me, that seems like a sensible idea and one that would have numerous benefits.

Firstly, people are going to be much more likely to go to the effort of recycling them if they get something back from it.

Sadly, human nature means the "what's in it for me?" element is often more important to people than doing something just to make the world a better place.

It's likely to be only a few cents you get back, but that soon adds up.

It is also likely to build a culture of recycling in our young people.

Kids will be only too eager to scrounge around for bottles to deposit so they can earn a couple of dollars to buy themselves a treat.

In doing that it is likely to become a habit they continue with for the rest of their lives.

It also means we are less likely to see bottles littering parks, beaches and footpaths - either those who currently dump them with no regard will think twice about doing it, or someone wanting to make a few bucks will pick them up.

It could also provide some small relief for those who might find themselves struggling to afford to eat. It's not going to be enough to turn around their fortunes and get them three square meals a day, but it will surely help them to buy a loaf of bread to keep them going for a couple of days.

Better still, manufacturers will likely be expected to take responsibility for the returned containers.

Whatever way you look at it, there are benefits.

I hope the Local Government Association puts the idea to the Government and it, in turn, does all it can to make it a reality.