If you asked local taxpayers for a list of vital council services they rely on, bin collections would be high on the list, and although many people freely recycle much of their rubbish, there still has to be a basic service provided for non-recyclable waste. In the past few days though, it has been reported in most of the national newspapers that Cardiff Council, in an attempt to meet the Welsh Government’s gold plated recycling targets, has proposed monthly bin and black bag collections.
The proposal could also see householders being charged ‘pay as you throw fees’ where they will pay less the more they recycle, and householders have also been warned they could face fines of £100 if they mix non-recyclables with recyclables.
Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has criticised the plans:
These barmy bin policies will harm the local environment by fuelling fly-tipping and back yard burning. Hard-working people will suffer from a derisory bin collection service in return for paying a fortune in council tax, which has not been frozen in Wales.
There are naturally fears that bins full of nappies, cat litter, and sanitary waste could be left rotting away for a month, but the council has insisted that it will collect sanitary and food waste more frequently than its normal general waste collections. Quite how more frequent this will be has not been made clear, however food waste is recycled into compost; sanitary waste is not. Why can’t the council continue to collect all general waste more frequently than once a month? The answer is it can. Many councils across the UK have successfully increased recycling rates without resorting to slashing services and threatening their residents. This only serves to anger them.
There are also other questions too. What if an elderly resident accidentally places wrong items into the wrong bin? Are they going to be fined? What if someone whose bin is full decides to place rubbish into a neighbour’s bin? How is the council going to decide who is responsible?
As Eric Pickles has said, there will be an increase in fly-tipping. There is also the increased risk of vermin and in the summer more flies and wasps to contend with. This really is a barmy proposal and one that we in the Welsh TaxPayers’ Alliance will be fighting strongly against.