PROPOSALS to charge people for the amount of waste they throw out have been rubbished in a new report.
Charging for individual rubbish collection is unlikely to change behaviour or increase recycling, according to a new report from the New Local Government Network think-tank.
The warning comes just weeks after the Local Government Association (LGA) put forward proposals to charge households according to the amount of rubbish they throw out in response to a government consultation on such schemes.
The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, said the proposals were designed to improve recycling and cut the amount of rubbish sent to landfill to avoid £3bn of potential fines.
It insisted the plans would not be a stealth tax, with some households paying more but others seeing lower council tax bills.
But a NLGN pamphlet published today says individuals would only receive a small financial reward – unlikely to exceed £30 a year – for cutting the amount of non- recyclable waste with such minor financial incentives not likely to alter behaviour.
Councils should instead set up waste reduction goals with local neighbourhoods that would be rewarded if non-recyclable waste levels fell, with residents choosing how to spend the cash on community projects such as improving a local park.
Such schemes would build a better sense of community and result in more tangible rewards for tackling the issue, with research showing both drive changes in behaviour, added the NLGN report titled How can we refuse? Tackling the waste challenge.
It warns individual waste charges could create householder resentment and additional bureaucracy, while longer-term waste strategies and a national debate – including looking at carbon-neutral incineration – are needed. The NLGN stressed the amount of rubbish sent to landfill should be cut and cash raised by the landfill tax could be used to address the issue and pay for its proposals.
Report author Anthony Brand said rewards should be given to council wards that showed the greatest recycling improvements.
Berwick Tory Parliamentary candidate Anne-Marie Trevelyan said it was an interesting concept that could avoid charging individuals and a resulting rise in fly-tipping, but stressed packaging needed to be cut and recycling facilities improved.
Senior Newcastle Liberal Democrat councillor Greg Stone said: “At this stage we are not in a situation where we envisage charging in Newcastle but we are aware the national debate is moving on and clearly all councils have a job to do in reducing their landfill waste disposal.”
Special bin bags could cut waste says study
HOUSEHOLDS could be charged for rubbish depending on how many refuse sacks they buy or the size of their wheelie bins. Different sized pre-paid sacks or special tags to go on ordinary bin bags could be purchased from the local council or shops for general household waste under proposals set out by the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents town halls in England and Wales. The scheme could prove more effective in urban areas where space makes it harder to use wheelie bins, with a sack-based system in the Dutch city of Masstricht resulting in a dramatic fall in the amount of household waste.
Residents could alternatively be sent a regular bill for their non-recyclable waste with the amount able to weighed through microchips fitted in wheelie bins under the LGA proposals, recently submitted to ministers following a government consultation on such schemes.
Such a system in the authority of Sittard in Holland, where only a quarter of homes are flats, has cut general waste by 41% and saved nearly £750,000 a year.
Charges could be based on wheelie bins sizes, with residents selecting which bin to use based on what rubbish they think they will throw out. Households would be able to change the size of bins after a fixed period, although too often would create unreasonable costs.
The Dutch area of Haarlemermeer operates such a system on a fortnightly basis, with residents fined for setting out extra waste. But recycling has increased and saved council money, with the scheme proving cheaper than incineration.
Tories outline recycle plans
RESIDENTS should be offered council tax discounts to encourage recycling, a Tory policy review is tomorrow [THURS] expected to recommend.
The Conservative quality of life policy group is also set to call for full transparency for council tax bills so every family can see how much they pay for collection, recycling and disposal of waste.
The group is understood to believe that rewarding families with discounts along with a detailed breakdown of how much it costs to deal with rubbish will boost recycling.
It may call for the setting of a “generous” limit by weight for residual waste that would be collected within the standard charge with discounts
for households producing less rubbish, with technology allowing accurate allocations.