Charging residents to use their local tip – good or bad?

The recent decision by some Somerset councils to charge residents to use their local tip has been met with wide criticism – but here’s a contrarian view. Shouldn’t people who create lots of rubbish contribute a bit more to the costs of disposing of it? Businesses do – so why shouldn’t residents? Why should council tax be used to subsidise something only a small proportion of the population use?

It’s not as if the charges proposed are very high at £2 per visit but at least it’s something. Most councils already charge for bulky waste collection, so what’s so bad about charging residents to use the tip too?

Over and above the economic benefits, charging at the dump should also encourage people to think twice before binning something that might be reused – which must be a good thing. Also, I think tip charges could actually reduce not increase flytipping by raising awareness of the real costs associated with legal waste disposal.

It’s always struck me that one of the main reasons residents use cheap ‘rogue’ man & van clearance companies who flytip waste, is because they (the residents) are often unaware that, on top of fuel, labour and overheads, it actually costs legitimate waste companies around £100 a tonne to dispose of waste.

Hopefully, even a small levy at the tip will remind residents that waste disposal isn’t free, and so if a friendly man & van only charges you £50 to clear a skip load of waste from your back yard, you haven’t paid a fair price – you’ve just paid him to fly-tip it for you!

Photo credit: Jason Rogers

2 Responses

Write a Comment»
  1. Bob Bowyer says:

    Not a very fair comment i have been a man and van clearance company for years and i do the job as cheeply as i can, the reason i do this is because i recycle as much of the waste i collect as possible and infact sell well over 50% of the waste i collect. I have never fly tipped waste in my life and never will. Dont judge everyone by your own standards.

  2. Green Living says:

    I understand the argument but I think we haven’t yet persuaded enough people to use civic amenities to sort and recycle their waste. Even without charging, the amount of fly-tipping going on in the UK is terrible. Charging households to get rid of additional waste will increase incidences of fly-tipping.
    Just raising the cost of waste disposal will not significantly affect behaviours, as the root cause of the waste has not been addressed, e.g. product packaging in the main. It’s a similar situation to the fuel tax levied to ‘encourage’ people to drive less. For most people, there is no viable alternative. Levying yet more charges will see people struggle to pay, find ways of avoiding paying and ultimately the charges will be seen as yet more stealth taxes.
    We already pay council tax, which should be meeting the cost of waste disposal by the councils. Taxing twice for the same thing is counter-productive.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.