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Rubbish tax is rubbish – maybe

October 31, 2007

The report in yesterdays Guardian stating that the Government has cleared up the rubbish tax confusion did not to my mind clear up the confusion

In the article itself it seemed that there were two very different steers emerging depending on which line you read. On the one hand “a Defra document published on the official Whitehall website revealed that the climate change bill would allow local authorities to charge for waste in a bid to boost recycling” and on the other “paper versions given to reporters and MPs stated that the bill would only give local councils the power to run pilot schemes to encourage recycling”

These two different slants would seem to propose very different ways of going about things.

The first implies that households will be charged for the amount of rubbish they throw away. This would seem to be on the basis that the amount of non recyclable rubbish can be weighed and a bill can be issued. I am absolutely convinced that this method will not be a great success and will in all likelihood lead to two unwanted outcomes – an increase in the amount of rubbish fly tipped or taken directly to the local municipal site and an increase in neighbour disputes caused by people putting their rubbish into other peoples bins.

The second implies some kind of scheme whereby those who recycle through kerbside collection facilities gain some kind of reward which is offset by those who refuse to use such facilities receiving some kind of charge. This seems to be a more positive way to go about things but we have to ensure that every household has the facilities to recycle and I suspect the administration of such schemes will be relatively expensive and open to challenge. If someone does not put out any recyclables then presumably their normal bins will need to be checked to see whether or not their waste contains recyclables. This may also prove unpopular as the thought of the local authority rooting through peoples bins may not go down very well.

If implemented sensibly by local authorities this may help, if not do not be surprised to see the amount of fly tipping on the increase

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