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No ‘pay as you throw’ charge, say councils

June 11, 2010 at 3:55 pm

A ‘pay as you throw’ (PAYT) recycling scheme, first pioneered by the Labour Party, has been thrown out by the communities secretary, Eric Pickles. The proposal, which would have seen householders charged or rewarded according to the volume of waste they throw away each week, was given the cold shoulder by councils.

PAYT plans are a prosaic part of politics, appearing every few years in slightly different packaging. The scheme is supposed to help the UK achieve waste management targets outlined by the EU, but critics are worried that PAYT plans could alienate householders, encouraging them to burn excess waste to avoid a ‘bin tax’.

In effect, PAYT could actually make England’s carbon footprint larger, upsetting the lawmakers in Brussels. Mr Pickles claims that the coalition government will now focus on rewarding diligent recyclers, instead of employing ‘bin police’ to monitor household waste. Incentive programs have been operating in Berkshire for a number of years.

PAYT schemes have never been popular amongst householders – in March, councils were accused of ‘waste surveillance’ by the Big Brother Watch Group, a privacy watchdog, after microchips were installed in 2.6m wheelie bins. Councillors claimed that the chips were used to identify a lost bin, however, and were unrelated to PAYT or ‘chip and bin’ schemes.

Whilst only an incentive scheme is likely to gain widespread support in the UK, continental PAYT programs are successful and largely unopposed by the public, according to a Labour advisor. Gordon Brown’s government used figures from ‘other countries’ to create a PAYT blueprint for Britain, which could indicate that the EU has become a poster child for recycling schemes.

If the new PM’s penchant for ‘borrowing’ ideas from other countries (Mr. Cameron has looked to Sweden and Canada for budget-slashing techniques in recent months) is as deeply engrained as it appears, European waste schemes could make a return to Britain’s shores in the very near future.

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One response to “No ‘pay as you throw’ charge, say councils”

  1. Scott Simkin says:

    It’s definitely a bad idea. I think companies being paid and incentive to recycle is far more productive. A skip hire company can now offer reduced rates as they recycle a large amount of the skips contents, resulting in lower landfill tax.

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