More local authorities are expected to ask residents to pay for the disposal costs of items such as tyres and asbestos at household waste recycling centres (HWRCs).
Further to recent national media coverage of protestations by Devon residents about extra charges for the disposal of materials like plaster board and building rubble, CIWM spokesperson Terry March told RWW: “Many HWRCs already charge for, or restrict the volume of, wastes that are considered to fall outside the category of household waste and that involve an additional cost for treatment and disposal, such as asbestos and tyres.
“Given the scale of public sector cuts, CIWM believes that more councils will require those who wish to dispose of construction and hazardous waste to contribute to the cost of its disposal,” continued March.
“The allocation of the cost to those who generate the waste could be seen as a fairer way of applying the ‘polluter pays’ principle.
“Removing the automatic depositing of wastes that fall outside the normal household waste category by the public through either restrictions or charges helps to raise public awareness of our need to minimise waste.
“It is also a further way in which councils can tackle the additional financial burden of trade waste being deposited at the recycling centre inappropriately. “A spokesperson from Devon County Council told RWW: “From 1 April, we now charge residents £2 for disposing of a bag of building rubble (the equivalent of a black bin bag), £20 for a 3’ by 6’ sheet of asbestos and £2 per tyre. Clearly, residents have been less than happy.
“Some people insist it’s going to increase fly-tipping. We have tried to explain that the only things we’re charging for are the items that cost us to dispose of. “The disposal of asbestos and tyres is expensive. We have told residents that, by all means, if they can do better by going to a commercial enterprise, then please do so.
Then we get a call back 10 minutes later saying they will go for the council option.” Industry pundits believe it won’t be long before other local authorities go down the same route as Devon County Council.
Rebecca Eatwell, director of communication consultants, PPS Group, said: “Devon County Council’s decision to start charging at HWRCs for waste streams which have previously been free will no doubt have been motivated by economic necessity rather than as part of a strategic waste management tactic. “A number of councils have already started, or are looking at, expanding their trade waste collections – a move which has been incentivised by local authorities’ trade waste collections no longer being subject to VAT. “Any changes which affect local people’s waste services have the potential to be controversial – shown executive told RWW: “We have a number of customers who are interested in our service and who are aggrieved that councils are not fulfilling their duty. This creates a market for us. My concern is that recycling is not being carried out to its full capacity.
“After all, it should be done by specialists rather than councils as they don’t reap any rewards from recyclable products, whereas private companies like Waste Concern can offer residents reduced prices for collecting their waste and recyclables,” added the chief executive. “If we were licensed by certain councils, we could achieve that. It’s a system to be found in other countries but not yet in the UK,” continued the chief executive.
Other county councils say they have no intention of charging residents waste disposal fees at civic amenity sites. A Leicestershire County Council spokesman advised: “Leicestershire County Council do not currently make any charges for residents to recycle or dispose of their waste at the 14 civic amenity sites located throughout the county and currently does not have any plans to introduce charging for waste disposal at any of these sites.”
Broadland District Council told RWW: “At this point we have no plans to charge for the hazardous household waste collection. Examples of such items would include clinical waste and chemicals such as unwanted weedkiller.”