Exclusive. Local authorities are set to scrap bin collection and other waste services in a massive shake-up of provision. After finally realising that combining waste and landfill is not only contaminating land and water sources, and the cost to ratepayers continuing to rise, a radical re-think has turned the whole problem on its head in a way which could make the service not only profitable but ecologically positive.
Two issues affect the way we treat waste. Responsibility. As in whose is it, the householder or the council? And potential value. What other ways can what we throw away be recycled?
Stage one of the changes will be the end of bin collection. In future all waste will have to be sorted by the householder and disposed of as follows:
- anything biodegradable has to be composted on-site (those without a garden will be provided with an alternative)
- glass placed in the banks provided locally, as with –
- toxic waste (that has any kind of safety warning on the packaging) has to be taken to the local RESOURCE CENTRE. It is a fineable offence to dispose of it any other way
- garden prunings too thick to compost must be taken to the RESOURCE CENTRE
- as with building waste/ furniture/ appliances/ and anything else not covered by the above.
What used to be known as the local council tip is now to be renamed as the borough RESOURCE CENTRE. All items taken there have to be separate and clean, ready for a recycling evaluation. Anything that can have a second life (as spare parts or for refurbishment/ building projects) will then be labelled/ stored and entered on the national RESOURCE CENTRE website. This can be browsed by subject/ part number/ or manufacturer. Anyone wishing an item from that can reserve it online, there is a 50 pence fee payable on collection, towards the cost of running the CENTRE. All biodegradable materials received will be shredded and composted on-site, and the finished product available for a 50 pence fee per sack (bring your own sack). All toxic material will be returned to the manufacturer for appropriate recycling.
- recycling of scrapped cars (for parts) will be dealt with at a separate dedicated CENTRE, but sharing the same database. The fee per item is the same.
- household water supply is to be rationed. A meter with a shut-off valve will be installed and a monthly allowance determined dependent on the number of community charge payers resident. Rainwater collection is to be encouraged and the council will be offering a range of storage tanks for this purpose at cost-price. Information on how to use rainwater will be on our site.
- house builders who use materials from the RESOURCE CENTRE will be eligible for a tax refund.
- new houses, under 500 ft2, and on vacant land no less than 2 hectares, will come under greatly relaxed planning regulation. As will houses constructed from more than 50% locally recycled materials.
- householders who wish to sever their connection with the mains sewage system can have the work done free and qualify for zero sewage charge. Advice about how to present an alternative proposal for composting toilet waste and grey water treatment will be on our website.
- all products on sale in the future will have to be labelled as to whether safe for composting/ recyclable/ or toxic (with an address to return after use).
All the above is of course wishful thinking, but all it takes to make it real is the will. Share the ideas with your local councillor and make it happen.