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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Waste away

Some short time ago it was proposed that the local councils in England would start charging people for rubbish removal based upon the weight of their refuse. The idea being that this would encourage folk to recycle more instead of just throwing things into the bin. A noble aim to be sure.

Now it seems that some councils are putting the plan into action. My immediate reaction to this was to wonder how the council would guarantee fair charging. You see, I am a cynic and if I hear that we are going to be charged on the weight of our waste then I am pretty sure that a not inconsiderable number of crafty but tight people will realise that they can save money by placing their rubbish into other people's bins. I predict with 100% confidence that it will happen.

What safeguards can be put in place to prevent this dishonest dumping? Is it up to the council to introduce said safeguards or is the onus on the man-in-the street? I imagine some would argue that it is up to the individual to safeguard their bin from felonious dumping of waste, but this is nigh on impossible; if you live somewhere where your bin is left at the front of your house you will have to rely on catching the dumper at the precise moment of dumping. If you leave your bin in a shed or garage then you will have to remove it on collection day and place it on the street where the bin-men can gain access to it. If, like me, your collection is not until late morning (at the earliest) then there is ample opportunity for the dastardly dumper to deposit his or her trash.

Now let us say that you have discovered that someone has dumped into your bin without permission. What do you do? Do you remove the rubbish and put it in someone else's bin? That would make you just as bad as the first dumper (unless you are 100% certain you know where the alien trash came from). Do you leave it out of your bin? Where would you leave it? Your garden, the road, take it to the rubbish tip yourself? Why should that duty fall on you?

I have other issues with this new system. If implemented will we see a reduction in our council tax? At the moment rubbish collection is one of the services covered in our taxation but if we are to pay for the rubbish collection depending on weight will we be getting a reduced council tax bill or else a rebate? I suspect not, you see although the stated aim is all very noble I feel that it is not the driving force behind such a rapid take-up of a scheme that was introduced such a short time ago. I am genuinely curious as to how many other proposed schemes are acted upon so quickly after proposal in local government. I suspect that many sniffed the chance of raising their usable tax revenue and leapt on it without thinking the problem through properly.

Or maybe I am just being cynical...

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