Azara Blog: UK might reward households for recycling waste

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Date published: 2008/05/14

The BBC says:

The government has denied it is guilty of a "wholehearted retreat" on plans to bring in a system of charges or rewards to encourage people to recycle more.

Last year ministers said all councils in England would be able to introduce "bin tax" schemes, but this was later restricted to five pilot authorities.

The Commons local government committee has said this will mean EU targets on waste will be harder to reach.
In the Climate Change Bill there are proposals for five areas to pilot a scheme aimed at getting more people to recycle waste.

Householders who recycle the most would get a financial reward; those who recycle the least would face a fine.

In May last year the government said all 354 local authorities in England would be allowed to introduce the scheme - but this was restricted when the bill was published in November. An England-wide rollout was put back until 2012/13.

Under the current proposals, local authorities would not be able to raise any money from the schemes themselves - all revenue taken would be redistributed in rewards.

The EU targets are silly. They focus only on the percentage of "recycled" waste (i.e. waste handed over to the government for industrial re-processing) rather than on the quantity of waste, period. Hence we get the silly proposal that "householders who recycle the most would get a financial reward". Thus householders who compost all their own organic waste, and who re-use glass jars and bottles, and who don't buy newspapers, will be condemned as unworthy citizens. And householders who buy far too much food and end up throwing most of it in the green bin, or who buy tonnes of glass items or newspapers, and are competent enough to recycle them, will be treated as model citizens (and showered with cash).

All waste should be charged for, recycled and non-recycled. The less waste a household creates, the smaller the bill should be. (At least theoretically. In practise there are all sorts of issues such as controlling illegal dumping of waste by irresponsible people. So this whole idea of pay-as-you-waste is suspect. But it keeps the bureaucrats happy.)

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