Eurobodalla Shire Council rangers have a new target in their sights: people putting their litter in the bin.
It sounds like an oxymoron, but plainclothes and uniformed rangers are looking for people picking up litter that may not be theirs or going out of their way to ensure their rubbish is disposed of properly.
It is all part of a pilot program launched recently to reward people for doing the right thing with shopping vouchers.
But be warned, on-the-spot fines of up to $450 can be handed to those doing the wrong thing.
Eurobodalla Council ranger Rory Hogan said the focus was changing people’s behaviour – not just with fines but also by rewarding good deeds.
“This is the first time we have trialled a reward program and hope that other businesses may also get involved in the future by offering vouchers,” he said.
“It’s a new idea and a good way of having a positive reinforcement for doing the right thing.”
Sustainability project officer Mimosa Henderson said the reward pilot program was part of round two of The Cigarette Butt Bin Project run with the NSW Environment Protection Authority.
As part of this project, there are now more than 30 cigarette butt bins throughout the shire.
At one site, near the Dalmeny Playground, there had been an increase in people’s use of the butt bins by more than two-thirds after they were installed, Ms Henderson said.
There is a focus on encouraging smokers to dispose of their cigarette butts, which can end up in waterways.
Coles Supermarket regional manager John Appleby has provided 20 shopping vouchers worth $25 to the pilot program.
“It’s a beautiful part of the world, so we should do everything we can to keep it that way and even if this inspires just a few people, then that’s a good outcome,” Mr Appleby said.
“We have a real responsibility to help find solutions.”