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My local council has written to me, asking about my current use of the council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres and for my opinion on potential changes to the facilities themselves and the services they provide.
Apparently it currently costs £1.3 million per year to dispose of non-household materials, such as DIY waste, which the council is not obliged to recycle on our behalf, and I was asked whether – to enable the council to cover its costs – the HWRC should stop taking these materials altogether or charge to take them.
Another option for cutting costs (since that is clearly what this is all about) is to cut the hours that HWRCs are open. Should they be open only at times that have proved busy, or when most people are out at work (thus forcing them to join long queues at weekends), or should they be closed for one or two days per week?
Permanent closure of some sites is also being considered, as I was asked how long I would be prepared to drive to reach an alternative site.
The survey finished by saying that the council has been trying different ways to encourage more reuse of good quality second hand items such as furniture and electricals, and that it’s currently exploring options such as on-site shops.
I believe we need to do as much as we can to encourage people to recycle. Personally I'd like to see the main bin collection being cut to every three weeks or the introduction of smaller main waste bins (with possibly a small reduction in council tax for those that use them) to force people to recycle. I'm dismayed at the quality of some of the items being dumped, such as furniture, carpeting, toys, electrical goods etc, which other families might love, so I hope the on-site shop idea comes to fruition.
I worry about shorter opening times and the possibility of what may be prohibitive charges being made to HWRC users, since this may force people to slip the stuff they would have recycled, into the main waste bin, which defeats the object of any cost-cutting exercise by sending more waste to landfill. Also, the changes being mooted (apart from the on-site shops) will, no doubt, lead to an increase in fly-tipping.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this...
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1st October 2015