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'Pay as you throw' charges ruled out

Published 16th July, 2010 by Neil Nixon

'Pay as you throw' charges ruled out

Plans to let English councils charge or reward people according to their refuse have been thrown out by Eric Pickles, the new Communities Secretary. The plans, aimed at cutting landfill, were described by Pickles as ‘insulting’. The government plans to back rewarding people for recycling instead.

The announcement removes the prospect of charging households who put out the most non-recycled rubbish out. The move was in part a response to the UK’s need to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill by nearly two-thirds by 2020 to meet EU targets.

"You should treat people with respect instead of having a bunch of bin inspectors, or bin police," Pickles said in a BBC News interview. He added that incentivising people was the quickest way to increase recycling levels, which he said would be badly needed if the UK was to meet its target of becoming ‘one of the green economies of Europe’.

Mark Woodhead, chairman of the British Cleaning Council, offered qualified support for incentivising recycling: "We believe that encouraging sustainable behaviour is more effective than using a stick to force people to recycle, but we are worried that these measures will not address the central problem - to reduce the amount of non- recyclable waste. There is not an incentive for households to reduce the waste they generate in the first place, only to recycle more.”

Pay-as-you-throw is still being considered in Wales, but there are no plans for it in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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