A radical plan to combat piles of litter in Birmingham city centre will see cash donations to charity if bins are kept filled.
Officials are hoping that the ‘Bin It For Good’ campaign will emulate the success of a similar initiative in Rayleigh, Essex, which saw a 42 per cent fall in street litter.
It is hope the move will help slash a £13 million clean-up bill.
The project will donate up to £450 per month to charity if council collectors see a fall in the amount of litter dropped on New Street, High Street and Corporation Street and surrounding areas between now and November.
The campaign is a joint initiative between the city council, the Retail Birmingham group of shops, the Wrigley Company and Keep Britain Tidy.
The LoveBrum charity, which funds grass roots projects which benefit the city, is one of the charities which will get a donation if the amount of rubbish going into bins instead of on the ground rises.
Council refuse staff have been weighing the amount of waste collected by street sweepers and that put in the city centre bins over the last few months. That will be compared to litter collected over the next three months.
A second pilot scheme later this year will see the council team up with litter bin maker Wybone and Enevo, which provides sensor technology to monitor bin use. It will provide ten recycling bins in the wider city centre to collect cans, bottles and paper.
Earlier this year it was revealed that the city council had issued almost 5,000 £80 fines for littering over the last 12 months.
Council cabinet member for sustainability Lisa Trickett said: “We spend £13 million on street cleaning across Birmingham every year – and some of that could be used on other front-line services if we all showed we love where we live by disposing of our litter in a responsible way.
“That is exactly why we are excited to be taking part in the Bin it for Good project .
“Three local good causes will benefit and I hope this persuades some people who might be tempted to throw a sweet wrapper or drinks can on the floor to think twice.”
She said Bin It For Good and the recycling project showed the council was trying new approaches to keeping the streets clean.
“Instead of being a problem rubbish can be a resource if it is disposed of properly in a bin. Rubbish has value, we can even use it to generate electricity,” she said.
Jonathan Cheetham, chairman of Retail Birmingham, added that the initiative had been launched as the city centre begins a period of great change, including the opening of the Grand Central shopping centre.
He said: “It’s vital therefore that we keep our streets cleaner than ever and this initiative will not only help us achieve that goal but at the same time we are pleased to be working with LoveBrum to help raise money for good causes within the city.”
Rich McIlwain, of Keep Britain Tidy, said: “The charity bins initiative aims to encourage people to do the right thing with their rubbish and, at the same time, supports local charities.
“The results from the pilot in Essex last year were fantastic, with a reduction in litter of more than 40 per cent and several charities getting donations as a result.”
But there was criticism from Sheldon residents Mike Smith and Bob Tomms who are part of a team of volunteers who keep Sheldon Country Park and Hatchford Brook clean.
Mr Smith said: "We could do with projects like these being run in our area, not the city centre.
“The A45 Coventry Road is a disgrace, bins overflowing and litter strewn about on a main commuter route. We also need more enforcement action against litter louts.”