Sunderland City Council is launching a new recycling and rewards campaign to encourage local residents to be more environmentally friendly.

The ‘Be a Better Recycler’ campaign asks residents across the city to pledge to recycle more items, and use the right bin for the right waste. Those who do will be entered into a £50 monthly prize draw. Schools are also invited to pledge to recycle more, with the chance of winning prizes for their school.

To promote the campaign, Groundwork NE & Cumbria, which aims to improve the lives of people living in local communities and improve the environment in these areas, have been commissioned by the City Council to host a series of community roadshows and school visits. These activities will inform residents how they can recycle more, including tips on what items are recyclable, and how to fit more into their recycling bins.

Visitors to the roadshows have the opportunity to win a ‘grand prize’ of £1,000 worth of shopping vouchers, by guessing the number of bottles held in a 240-litre recycling bin.

Pupils of Barmston Village Primary School in Washington have already signed up to the project after hosting the campaign launch event. Around 180 children learned about the importance of recycling, and were challenged to ‘Put the right rubbish in the right bin’ and ‘Wash and squash cans and bottles’ to highlight how to fit more into their blue recycling bin.

Michelle Tate, Project Lead at Groundwork NE & Cumbria, said: “This is an exciting project for Groundwork. Reducing waste and educating ourselves on how to be better recyclers is essential to preserve the environment for future generations. We have already introduced successful recycling campaigns in other areas of the North East, and we’re confident that the residents of Sunderland will really enjoy taking part.”

Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Cllr Michael Mordey, Portfolio Holder for City Services said: “A lot of people in Sunderland do a great job of recycling, but we have a government target to recycle 50% of our household waste. This is challenging but not impossible, and the government has provided some funding to support us to get in touch with more residents. If we all try to recycle more items, from all over the home, the targets are achievable, and there are huge environmental benefits.

The roadshows should help to remind people of what can be recycled, and help them to fit more into their blue bins, with an added incentive of winning a prize for those who pledge to be better recyclers.”

Gail Kelly, Bursar from Barmston Village Primary, said: “Barmston Village Primary School strives to protect and improve the local environment. We already promote recycling within the school with the help of a group of students called the ‘Green Goblins’, and this project will help to raise more interest throughout the school in reducing waste. The project is incredibly valuable, and I hope it succeeds throughout all schools in Sunderland.”