Bower screenshot

Scan & Score: Unlocking Recycling Rewards - The Ultimate Eco-Friendly App!

Sarah Swaine

June 19, 2023

Everyday UK consumers are recycling at home, placing paper, cardboard, glass, tins, and plastic into recycling bins to be whisked away by local authorities. But let me ask you…

  • How much of what goes in your recycling bin is packaging?
  • Would you recycle more if it earnt you a few extra pennies? 
  • Do you know the impact recycling has on your carbon footprint?

Every year the UK generates around 30 million tonnes of household waste, of which, 5.9 million tonnes is packaging. That’s a whopping 19%!  

As we become more aware of the impact our rubbish has, more and more people are trying to find additional ways to recycle. We can see this in the local authority collected waste management results which showed an increased recycling rate of waste in households by 0.3% between 2020/21 to 2021/22. But we can do better!

Decreasing the environmental ‘birden’ of packaging waste

It’s hoped financial incentive schemes such as the Deposit Return Scheme will encourage consumers to recycle their empty packaging and drastically increase the recycling rate. However, this scheme isn’t set to come in until at least 2025.

In the meantime, reward apps like Bower have flown in to fill the gap and incentivise consumer recycling! 

Founded in 2018 and aptly named after the ultimate recycling birds, “Bower” is a unique free to use app that has swooped in to encourage consumers to recycle by offering a cash reward when recycling their packaging waste.

With many households looking to earn a few extra pennies for little effort during the cost-of-living crisis, consumers can scan any packaging with a barcode in the app and be rewarded with cash or coupons for recycling it. In addition to this, they also provide an easy-to-understand picture of the impact the users recycling has on their own carbon emissions.

Its ease of use is ‘im-peck-able!’

There were two big attractions for me when I stumbled upon the app: its usability, and the financial incentive.

The app is primarily designed for use at home, scanning the packaging consumers already place in their recycling bins daily, making it a convenient user-friendly tool.

Woman recycling

But if that wasn’t all, should you need to recycle items that can’t be placed in your household bins, Bower’s map feature finds nearby recycling locations and tells you what materials can be recycled there. For example, my local Tesco Metro shows on the app as a Public Recycling Location and will take soft plastic.

Each item recycled is a point and points can be redeemed for discounts/coupons at partner companies, or for cash with each item scanned being worth around 1.6p! Cash can be withdrawn straight into your bank account or donated to one of Bower’s partner charities.

Though you won’t be seeing my name on the Rich List 2023, it’s a small passive income that every household can use to earn extra pennies to put towards a coupon, charity donation or a small treat – ice cream anyone?

‘Egg-emplary’ visual aids

Most of us have our recycling collected by our local councils and never think about it again. We trust our recycling contributes to the sustainable effort, but we don’t see the measurable result at an individual level.

Bower don’t just tell you you’re being green; they show it! With help from the Bower mascot Bowie, the app paints a clear picture of the impact our recycled packaging has on carbon emissions. For example, a reduction of 956g of CO2 is:

  • 38 minutes of hair-drying, OR
  • a 6-minute hot shower, OR
  • 7kms driving

In addition to this, Bower has also included an ‘impact’ tab to showcase the current month’s global recycling stats, the quantity of recycled packaging and a breakdown of materials, as well as top products, and connected brands.

Sounds like a bit of an ‘Ostrich’!

Apps where users earn money are often viewed with suspicion; if they are paying you, where does the money come from?

Bower is financed by the brands they partner with, and a little Bower tells me they have collaborated with recycle-more founders, Valpak, an environmental compliance scheme and sustainability consultancy, to embrace circularity by offering Valpak customers the opportunity to reach their sustainability goals, strengthen their brands and gain valuable insights about consumers’ recycling and purchase habits

Have no ‘Egrets’ and be involved!

Bower, and other apps like it, may be one way we can boost that local authority recycling rate, and collectively increase it by more than 0.3% in 2023/24.

By recycling we can repurpose objects and materials, extending their circular economy and minimise the burden on resources, whilst also reducing waste sent to landfill.

Using Bower is a win for everyone! You are disposing of your waste sustainably, you can see the impact your recycling has, and you’re earning money for something you’re doing anyway!

Download the Bower App and get scanning!

            QR code

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog represent those of the author, Sarah Swaine, and are not those of recycle-more, Valpak Limited or any other organisation.