back to article Bin charging back on as Brown gets dizzy

Reports this morning have it that government plans for bin charging are back on, after an apparent attack of cold feet by the Prime Minister last week. Measures which would allow local councils to levy charges on people throwing away amounts of rubbish deemed to be excessive - in order to encourage recycling - appeared to have …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Penalise the user

    Of course, from a recycling point of view it would make far more sense to stop goods producers wrapping everything in multiple layers of packaging. However, they might complain about that. So instead, when we try to get rid of the deluge of shit we'll be fined. I predict widespread flytipping, illegal bonfires and an overloading of city dumps.

  2. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    It makes no sense!

    "Under a 1999 EU directive, Britain must cut the amount of biodegradable waste going to landfill to 6.3 million tonnes"

    Now see, this is why the whole idea of government environmentalism makes no sense to me. I would have thought that landfill would be the best possible solution for biodegradable waste. It's the non-degradable stuff you have to worry about, all that plastic and metal that could probably be recycled in some way.

    I know that putting all that organic stuff in to landfill produces methane and CO2, but then the alternatives are incineration and composting, both of which also produce methane and CO2. Despite what the government apparently believes, it doesn't magically stop being a greenhouse gas just because you make it in your back yard instead of at the local tip.

    But then, of course, anything that lets the government poke its nose in to your personal affairs...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's to stop...

    ...someone from putting their rubbish in someone else's bin thereby avoiding the charge?

    Are we all going to have padlocks on our wheelie bins?

  4. Rob Briggs
    Thumb Up

    Actually, it can all work rather well

    I've lived abroad in several countries where they have a 'pay as you throw' regime, Ireland and Switzerland being two examples. Ireland is an example of how not to do it - a variety of different charging mechanisms for roadside collections, depending on where you live, charges for access to dumps, bin collectors happy to leave refuse in the streets uncollected if it isn't properly tagged. In Switzerland, by contrast, you purchase an official 'abfallsack' (bin bag) which includes the disposal charge in its price, place your rubbish in it and that's that. Trips to the dump and recycling centres are free, special collections are made for items like polystyrene and bulky objects. If you leave litter or the wrong sort of rubbish it gets taken away but you get fined. Of these two, guess which one has a fly tipping problem... As a further question, guess which approach the UK will end up with...

  5. Steve
    Thumb Down

    Junk Post

    What about all the junk post, leaflets, free papers we don't want? Who want's to pay for disposing of something we didn't even ask for in the first place? How much will it cost to get rid of last years Yellow Pages?

    This idea really sucks!

  6. Sampler

    "Britain must cut the amount of biodegradable waste going to landfill"

    But biodegradable waste in landfill can produce natural gas as it decomposes which is already set to be collected when the landfills are built - this natural gas can then be used to heat thousands of homes very cheaply and very GREENLY.

    Instead we're going to have the dregs of the world dumping this additional waste over green areas destroying wildlife and habitat.

    As usual by politico's - don't think through a solution, simply take aim at foot and pull trigger.

    Or if I were more cynical:

    As usual by politico's - don't think through a solution, simply charge and tax as many people as possible.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    For feck sake

    I throw out 1 bag of rubbish every 2-3 weeks and the rest is recycling or compost. But what really hacks me off is that my council tax is £88 per month and that's the lowest band.

    I feel that the only thing my £88 per month to the council is paying for is taking away the rubbish and paying people to stand next to some road cones.

    Now I'm going to have to pay extra for them to take away the rubbish too!? WTF!

  8. Tim Turner
    Paris Hilton

    Fear not

    My local council gives me a paper bin and a glass bin already. My local Tesco has recycling for plastic and cardboard. Every week or so, I take my plastic and cardboard to the self-same Tesco on a trip I would have made anyway, and dump it. I sort the rubbish in a recyling bin bought from the same store for £15. The process takes me about 10 minutes a week to do.

    My normal bin is now half-full when I put it out.

    I hate to come over all tree-hugger, but it's quite easy, even for a lazy git like me. If the Council would collect my plastic as well, it would be even easier. Recyling is no big deal. The world is still going to end in a fireball of our own making, but we can recycle while we wait.

    And no, I have no idea what Paris has to do with any of this.

  9. jonathan keith Silver badge


    There's (sort of) an answer to that: remove all unnecessary packaging at the checkout of your supermarket when you do your shopping.

    Then it becomes the supermarket's problem - and if it's a large enough problem, they're in the position to be able to pressurise the manufacturers to change their ways.

    As long as you're prepared to brazen out the deathstares and tutting of the people in the queue behind you, and ready for an argument with the manager on duty.

  10. Andy
    Black Helicopters

    Trebles all round!

    I'm not particularly opposed to the bin charging as long as it is for EXCESSIVE amounts of waste. However, it won't be.

    I can see the letter from Brighton & Hove Council now (for it is they that are good at this) stating that irrespective of the number of people living at an address the waste allowance is fixed. They will follow this up with some officious blubbling about how "this will NOT be reviewed and why don't you take a walk to calm down you smelly pleb".

    So, er, I am opposed to it, not on principle, but on the arseholish way it will be implemented, just like everything else in this shit-streaked cuntry.

  11. Tom


    I don't currently recycle and know I should... our house of 4 people produces around 5-6 bags of rubbish per week which is obviously too much but not probably enough to get fined. I think it's a good idea though... fines are a good way to kick people like me into line!

  12. RichardB


    Interesting timing. I just got a letter from the council saying our 'recycling center' - or dump as it used to be called - is now to be considered a local dump, for local people. As such i was entitled to the complementary enclosed 6 month permit to use it.

    Additionally for some reason our 'recycling collection' can't hadle cardboard or plastic pots amongst other things.

    Perhaps if the councils were to up the facilities, people would use them. But the amount of times I have come back from the supermarket with the empty cans and bottles in the boot because the bottle bank had already overfilled is getting more and more common.

    Still, I am sure there will be a department or 2 with some serious pay rises from this, along with their mates in the various private companies who will need to implement this (as we all know the council has far too few staff and income to handle such a job without recourse to the private sector...)

  13. Senor Beavis

    Landfills will save the world from climate change

    Climate change is causing sea levels to rise.

    Landfills will protect us from this by keeping the ground level above sea level.

    Job done - mine's a pint.

  14. David Burton

    Families pay...

    Junk mail is one thing we'll end up paying for, but as it stands larger households will pay more. When it's a family, then there's perhaps only one income already being stretched to support a few dependents, and this will only add to the costs when a lot of toddler and baby meals are even more heavily packaged than adult products (for the amount of food), and that's not even starting on the volume in nappies.

  15. Robert Harrison

    An alternative

    Why not give people who actively recycle their waste a council tax discount? I.e. the more you use your green bin / black recycling box, etc. But I guess a discount is too much to ask, it's far too tempting for local gov to just rake in more cash isn't it.


  16. Stephen
    Thumb Down

    Can't even get a recycle bin, yet they want to charge us

    We live in West Wiltshire District, and we've ordered recycle bins (newly built house) over a year and a half ago. After many phone calls we've given up. We've been promised recycling bins since July of last year.

    How can the council justify charging us for rubbish collection, which we already pay for, when they won't even provide the recycling bins, which we also already pay for.

    The nearest tip is 10 miles from us, taking recycling to the tip would just raise our carbon emissions from driving further, not to mention additional fuel usage.

    - Fed up with the rubbish in Wiltshire

  17. Kevin Johnston

    Easy targets

    I know this has been mooted before, but how about targetting the rubbish from Businesses. At present they have no facility to present separated bins for collection and the contents of their industrial scale skips are just dumped en-masse into landfill. Business waste accounts for a significant percentage of the UK total and would be a lot easier to tax.

    Sorry that should have said track not tax.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    charge you first ask questions later

    .. in my block of flats, i have phoned the council 3 times now to ask them how i should recycle and why they collect it from everyone in the street but not us (as they are all houses not flats).

    So far nothing. But of course there will be no part of the legislation that puts any reciprocal responsibility on the collector to provide a level of recycling facilities.... they will just wait for the courts to decide that when someone finally tries to sue the council for charging them but not giving them the chance to recycle anyway!

    Always good to see that they are looking at charging as the last option... (any excuse to tax us!).

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  20. gaz

    double tax

    Might be a good idea if for one minute I thought my existing tax bill would be offset so that I could actually safe so money by reducing my waste.

  21. Peter Davies

    Oh dear..

    .. another half baked answer to a problem from our glorious government.

    The half wit quango employed by a half wit MP have once again come up with a suitable political answer.

    Or just maybe our glorious government have asked one of those clever arithmatic questions you used to do when you were twelve....

    Government A has 200 cubic tons of plastic waste & Country UK has 100cubic tons of space for waste. As Industry produces all of the waste, using only the general public, formulate a stupid answer and pass to Junior Minister Y, to pass to Senior Minister X who will then inform the general public that they know best and not to argue with the PM who incidentally, no-one voted for.

  22. andy gibson

    Junk post solution

    Just keep a hold of it for a week and then drop it back into the post box. The posties will pretty soon get hacked off having to collect and sort this junk - just like we do and maybe the Post Office might stop delivering so much.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No chance

    I know that I for one would find an alternative method of disposing of my rubbish - the bins at work if I am in a good mood, wherever I can find the rest of the time.

    What is so hard about giving incentives instead? Give me a rebate off my council tax for everything that I take to the tip myself, or that I put in my recycling bin. No cash involved, so no way to actually make money off the scheme, but also no need for me to padlock my wheelie bin to prevent the neighbours using it.

    As an aside, most of the tenaments in Edinburgh have communal bins, shared between dozens of households - no way you can sensibly charge for them, or secure them against people like me!!

  24. The Other Steve
    Thumb Down

    Surely biodegradable stuff...

    ...will, always, ultimately, erm, biodegrade ? The answers really in the question.

    And what if you live in a city, and don't have a garden to compost in, or if like me you live in a city but have a garden that's about a foot wide, with barely enough space for the wheelie bin as it is. This garden is no way big enough to take the compost generated by the residents total addiction to cups of tea.

    And like, even if I could compost it and put it on my garden, or I put it in a special bin which I haven't actually got room for and give it to some other bugger, WTF is the difference from just chucking it in a whole in the ground ? It's still going to biodegrade back down into it's components. Duh!

    Can someone explain why this is bad ? I mean, surely those components were around in the atmosphere / dirt / etc previously anyway ? Otherwise how the fuck did they get into my teabag ? By magic ?

    Further, if I'm going to give my compostable waste to someone else, who presumably will get some use out of it, shouldn't *they* be paying *me* ?

  25. JB

    Let Tesco pay for it!

    I agree with the first Anonymous Coward - let the manufacturers and supermarkets foot the bill or reduce the packaging. We're told that all this packaging is necessary so that the product reaches the customer in optimum condition. Crap! It's for the convenience of the supermarkets, so they can keep it on the shelf as long as possible. I always make a point of buying fruit and veg loose, why sell potatoes or apples in little polystyrene trays wrapped in cling-film? I'll be sending my bin bill to Tesco!

    This whole idea is...erm....rubbish! (Well, someone had to say it!)

  26. Graeme Hilton

    Shared bins?

    So how does the government intend handling the situation where several households share a bin?

    In blocks of flats there may be one or two large bins between 20 flats. Does everyone have to pay one twentieth of the charge, or are we going to get twenty little bins with padlocks?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Junk Post

    Some might think that putting the unaddressed junk mail back in the nearest post office box would pass the problem back to the post office (who get paid for delivering it). But I couldn't possibly condone that.

  28. Mo
    Thumb Down

    I wonder how this would fly in Renfrewshire

    …where four tenament flats share one single “blue bin” (paper/cardboard only) as their sole kerbside recycling resource, and it's collected fortnightly.

    If Renfrewshire Council were to behave sanely WRT recycling (paper, plastic, glass, cans kerbside collections, once a week), then I'd have practically nothing in the refuse bin. Living in a flat, I don't have the space to store everything for a week before it can be taken to the local recycling place.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Junk Post duh!

    "What about all the junk post, leaflets, free papers we don't want? Who want's to pay for disposing of something we didn't even ask for in the first place? "

    It's paper. Stick it in the recycling and you won't get charged.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    > "I can see the letter from Brighton & Hove Council now (for it is they that are good at this) stating that irrespective of the number of people living at an address the waste allowance is fixed."

    Well council tax is based on the household, not the number of people living there so thats the only way it (currently) makes sense to implement it. It's based on the amount paid by that house for their waste collection. Clearly council tax is grossly unfair for households that only have 1 person living in them, relative to one with 4 adults. The 4 adults utilise more of the council resources than 1 person therefore why should that 1 person pay a ridiculously high tax relative to the 4 ? If however people paid a "council tax" based on what you actually utilise then it would all be fairer and your point would stand.

  31. Michael

    Rubbish Mail

    I'm not going to pay to have my junk mail dumped by the local council, I'm going to post it all back to the sender. If we all did this the Royal Mail or whatever its called this week will be out of the red by the weekend.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RFID? Chip n Bin?

    I moved over to Ireland where they also have a pay as you go rubbish disposal, which on the whole seems to work; people complain a bit about it, then I explain council tax to them, and they seem to realise that 3Euro a bin aint that bad; also they have a solid reliable and future proof system in place, it invoves buying sticky labels and putting them on the bins - its genius I dont know how they cam up with it..

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The EU can shove it up their arse

    Why is that only the UK ever pays EU fines, you dont see the French paying up for illegally banning British beef for a decade.

    If we really need to cut down on UK landfill, there is always a couple of large holes in Kent we can use. Keep shoving the rubbishing in, and it should have almost infinite capacity.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Council tax

    Of course it is obviously unfair to charge for local services on a "per household" basis, and even more unfair to charge more for a larger property irrespective of the number of people living in it. However, it is not really a charge for services, it is as its name suggests, a tax, which is higher for those selfish capitalists who can afford a bigger house.

    Now surely it would be much fairer to charge each individual for local services rather than calling it a tax. You could call is something like "Community Charge". What could be fairer than that and who could possibly object to something so fair? Hmmm, I wonder why this has never been thought of...

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    My local council give out garden waste bags, then give you a list of stuff that is not garden waste, like leaves and branches even some types of weeds. So, it's just grass cuttings then, no wonder people don't bother.

  36. Luke Wells



    I already have a paper bag, a composting bin and a recycling bin (glass and plastic)

    My "waste" bin has a RFID tag in it, which half of my neighbours have managed to remove from theirs.

    First point :- I already MUST pay for refuse collection as part of my council tax. I don't get a choice. If my "waste" bin was under the average weight or empty.. will I get a refund?

    Second :- I am quite happy to recycle EVERYTHING, but I am not allowed to. I have already been threatened with a fine for placing RECYCLABLE plastic ice cream tubs in my recyclable plastic bin. Apparently these are NOT allowed, and I should already know that. Why the hell would I get a fine for trying to recycle something that is recyclable? Oh yes…. Because they want to increase the weight in my “waste” bin ready for when the new charging comes into effect.

    Thirdly :- In the paper bag, there is a huge list of things that I am NOT allowed to put in…. phone books, glossy junk mail, envelopes, catalogs etc. Basically I am only allowed to put clean A4 sheets of paper in there. Unfortunately the postman doesn’t put clean A4 sheets of paper through my door.

    What happens when the bins get swapped about? Last week after the collection, my neighbour had my bin, and I had a bin from 24 houses down!!! If I didn’t like the person who lives 24 houses down then I could fill the bin up with old bricks and lead to give them a nice big bill.

    What happens when I put my bin out at night, and someone goes around filling all the half empty bins up with their waste to avoid paying themselves!

    Again Grrrrrrrrrrrr!

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Junk Mail - You can opt out!!

    Just to let you all know you can opt out of receiving all unaddressed junk mail delivered by the Royal Mail. Go here:

    I opted out at home and also all the student properties I manage probably two years ago now and it has cut down on the amount of waste through the door massively!

    (Ironically we have just received wheelie bins but I wasn't informed of this as the council used Royal Mail to deliver the leaflets!)

  38. John Young

    Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) kills RFID tags

    A simple EMP zap to your bin tag and your bin won't identify itself to the bin waggon. Your bin's been left out in the street, so they can't pin it on you, especially if all the neighbours' bins died too.

  39. evilbobthebob
    Paris Hilton

    @Tom Turner

    Of course Paris has lots to do with it! She'll be going round flytipping silicon becasue of this...

  40. SpitefulGOD
    Gates Halo

    Crappy Country

    The British government are dicks, this tax will go nowhere near green projects, I'm fed up of paying more and more money for less and less services and watching an epidemic of scum on the streets. New Labour, same shit. This country will collapse by 2016, thanks alot you tits.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tenaments in Edinburgh

    Things will be different in Scotland from England. Probably cheaper, if history is anything to go by.

    Lothian Question - what's that? It's getting to be like the Palestine Question.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    junk mail solution

    return to sender (the address will be somewhere on the thing)

    receiver pays, COD.

  43. BitTwister

    @Graeme Hilton

    > In blocks of flats there may be one or two large bins between 20 flats. Does everyone have to pay one twentieth of the charge, or are we going to get twenty little bins with padlocks?

    In my block there are 6 flats and our council had the bright idea of giving each flat three small plastic boxes - for paper, vegetable and "non-recyclable" household waste. That a box could barely hold one crushed cornflake box was bad enough, but 3 boxes x 6 flats meant our small communal yard became half-filled by an array of 18 piddling little boxes - all cunningly provided with no lids. There was also a two-weekly, alternating collection schedule which usually meant that the rubbish ended up all over the yard - well, that which flies the size of light aircraft hadn't carried off.

    After a few months and several complaints we ended up with 3 large communal bins - which most people can't be arsed to use properly anyway, and it's "someone else's" job to cart the things out and back.

    It's so nice to see our tax being wisely spent on these crackpot schemes, where what's really needed is a serious attack on the producers for generously providing all this crap.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How do they know?

    >According to Edward Leigh of the Public Accounts Committee:

    If the UK misses these targets, taxpayers will have to stump up the money to pay a huge fine to the European Commission... The alternative [to sorting out recycling] is a never-ending search for more holes in which to bury our rubbish mountain.

    Annual fines of £180m would increase the UK net contribution to EU finances by as much as 7 per cent, based on the 2003 figures.<

    How would the European Commission know the figures? Is the British Government going to tell the figures that would result in a multi-million pound fine?

    There must have been a forest full of trees used to provide the paper for the leaflets pushed though our doors in the past few weeks in support of condidates for the forthcoming local elections. Some candidates pushing throughy leaflets nearly every day. Who do we vote for if recycling and waste is an issue?

  45. Luke Wells

    Nice idea.... almost

    "Just to let you all know you can opt out of receiving all unaddressed junk mail delivered by the Royal Mail. Go here:"

    Hows that going to stop any junk mail?

    "The opt out service only relates to unaddressed mail. Royal Mail is still legally obliged to deliver all addressed mail, which includes mail that is addressed “To the Occupier” (or with any other generic recipient information), as well as mail that is personally addressed to you by name."

    99% of my junk mail says "To the occupier"

    I think I will do as one reader suggests above and write "return to sender on everything and stick it back in the mailbox"

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