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Tuesday 30 October 2007

Pay as you Throw? [Lurks]

Looks like we're set for a pilot of a pay as you throw scheme whereby you are charged for how much waste you produce. I'm a little baffled by that because it would seem that it's being said the scheme must be 'revenue neutral' so the coucil doesn't earn any extra money. Then surely what this means is that small households such as a couple like us, end up paying less while families pay more. That doesn't strike me as completely unreasonable.

However I think I have to take issue that just throwing this all onto the consumer ends up helping the issue of the amount of stuff thrown away. I'd really like to see a two-pronged approach with the government also 'going after' business. These are the real bad guys when it comes to rubbish with the mountains of unnecessary packaging and, a bugbear of mine, unnecessary paper communications.

I recently switched to Virgin credit card, for example, and I swear it's ridiculous the amount of paper junk they've sent me. Loads of things trying to sell me on this or that, duplicates too, booklets of rubbish, paper statements (which I don't even want, it's 2007 ffs) and the list goes on. And then there's the stupid plastic and cardboard packaging for everything. You don't have to buy much at all to end up with virtually a bin full of assorted plastic and cardboard. I mean even a goddamn cable in a box has to have a cable tie around it and then put inside another plastic bag. Why?!

We're pretty good recycling wise. We compost what we can. We recycle everything the council accepts. Yet I feel like it's basically companies working against our best intentions, fulling up our bins with crap.

I'd like to actually see companies face a levee for packaging and for paper communications. If they want to do it, sure, but it'll cost them. Then with the economics turned around suddely they'll make the effort. Just like companies made the effort to get everyone onto Direct Debit for billing when it became apparent they wouldn't be paying credit card clearing rates. Hit them in the pocket and they will comply.


  1. One of the issues of 'pay as you throw' may end up being similar to the charging for water as you use it.

    On the Isle of Wight - a trial area - they set a price, found everyone saved tons of water and then had to put the prices up cos they lost revinue. Effectively they said, conserve and you'll save money - means they convince people that things will be ok and quells resistance so they can get the scheme in place. Of course, once they have the scheme in place they can rack up the cost.

    We have 5 in our house - we just about manage with a single bin per 2 weeks. If I was convinced it was cost neutral why should I worry? In fact it may be better if I was allowed to have 2 bins and occassionally make use of it when I have to. However I don't believe my bill will remain the same a year down the line.

    Also,we recycle most stuff without going mad. However, councils seem to pick and chose what you can recycle easily. Here they will only collect, paper, glass, tins. So the big stuff like cardboard, packaging, plastic milk bottles has to be taken to a central collection area cos there's no chance we'd fit it in a bin. This means a 10-15 mile round trip for some stuff. 30 Miles for other stuff - really smart everyone driving a car to recycle! I understand other areas have the complete opposite to us in what will be collected. I guess it depends on what deals the council have signed.

    Now if they charge me AND collect all recycling AND keep it cost neutral I'd be happy.


  2. Supermarkets are evil: How can we start a campaign to get people to discard their exreaneous outer wrapping on their shopping at the till? They'd soon take notice then.

    The pessimist in me sees an increase in fly tipping due to this scheme though. Litterbug UK :(


  3. I'm newly resident in the most recycle-effective district of Gloucestershire. And come February 2008, we're going to fortnightly collections, offset by a new weekly food waste collection and new fortnightly card/cardboard collection. All cool I guess (not a lot of fun splitting things up when you're in a flat though).

    I'm already dead impressed with recycle points here, there are bins for everything including plastic bottles, tetrapak packaging, cardboard, oil... the lot. Didn't have that in Nottingham, and Nottingham isn't a small place.

    But I find it strange that councils in general want to charge for garden waste collection. Its the most recyclable material of all, stuff for quick burial or even burn, but that's the one they're charging for?