What a Load of Rubbish

Trash bag 'Tax' proposed and trialled

Householders who throw out more than one sack of rubbish each week may be forced to pay for extra bags, it was revealed on Saturday, October 6, 2007.

In a six-month pilot scheme trialled by Broxbourne Council in Hertfordshire aimed at encouraging residents to recycle more, householders will be provided with 26 specially colour-coded bin bags - one for each week.

On its website the council said it hopes to reduce the rubbish put out by each household by 1.5kg per week and increase recycling by the same amount.

But the scheme is not gone down well with some residents.

BT worker Jack Jerome, 54, told the Daily Mail: "I have a large family with children and grandchildren at the house all the time. We do recycle but we still produce five or six bags of rubbish a week.

"We already pay £138 a month in council tax and this looks like more tax by the back door."

He said that it could end up costing him and his family up to £60 a year in extra bin bags.

This latest initiative to boost recycling and cut waste comes after criticism earlier this year of councils switching to "alternate" collections, in which rubbish is picked up on a fortnightly basis alternating with recycling collections.

The Government defended the alternate collections against concerns that they encouraged rats and disease and said councils which had introduced them had much higher recycling rates.

All one can say to this is that it is a load of rubbish – pardon the pun – but we have come to expect such from central government and its local clones, whatever their party colors.

Instead of making people recycle more people are just going to use black refuse sacks for anything over the “one bag a week quota” that they have generated in rubbish and dump said black sacks in the countryside, some woods or farmer's field, in parks and open spaces and such like.

This, far from doing anything for the environment is going to achieve just the opposite, namely lots of fly tipping and will only make matters worse.

Not that the politicians and such sitting in their ivory towers would ever see or notice this. They just see less refuse that the crews of the dust carts are collecting and which goes through the waste transfer site and therefore, more than likely, assume that people are recycling. It is all about targets yet again. Get real folks! And who is responsible of cleaning us the fly tipped refuse in farmer's fields and such? The victims themselves though this may include the local authority if it is their parks that are used as dumping grounds.

Rather than penalizing residents who may not be able to recycle – for various reasons – or who indeed generate a great deal of non-recyclable refuse the governments should give people incentives to recycle, such as, for example, reverse vending machines – they work in the USA – or manned stations where aluminum cans and glass bottles (and maybe even plastic ones) could be returned to for cash, reduction in refuse collection costs, or other similar methods.

I know that, while reverse vending machines do work in the USA politicians, no doubt would claim that they could never work in Britain as Britain is different. The very same excuse that they use in regards of Britain putting stumbling blocks in the way of people wishing to have micro-generating stations and selling back to the grid at a proper rate.

Also, not every household has a car with which they can take things to the “Recycling Centers” nor is every household served by Kerbside Recycling Units.

This central government and its local clones, however, instead of giving people incentives to recycle are all about yet another way of raising revenue.

Encourage and enable people to recycle and reward those that do instead of punishing those that do not or who maybe cannot. But that does not generate money to be spent elsewhere.

© M V Smith, October 2007