Wokingham Borough Council has lost the plot.
I suppose you would agree with me, that Recycling is the most important part of our Rubbish; we all know we must recycle more.
Wokingham are approaching this from the wrong direction. Wokingham believe that the way of increasing our recycling rate is to reduce the amount of rubbish we send to landfill. This is nothing new; most councils restrict the amount of waste which we throw away,the favourite way doing this is to supply a 240 Litre wheelie bin, and empty it once a fortnight; so thats 120 Litres a week. Wokingham are going to supply every household with 80 sacks so about 1.5 sacks a week which = 120 Litres of waste.
So how much waste which the council collects do we actually recycle, Some councillors believe we recycle 44%; following a Freedom of Information Request the figures of waste collected from households is far worse; in 2011 72% of our waste went to Landfill; so 28% was recycling? No, we recycled 14% and the other 14% was Green Waste. The danger for the council is that recycling rate will reduce as green waste is now going to be chargeable. Other dangers are: People are more likely to put more items into the recycling which should not be put into recycling, (i.e. contamination rate will increase), Fly-tipping, which increased in 2010, and could increase further in 2012 as people dump waste illegally.
The correct method to increase recycling is to increase what we can recycle. Recycling rates work on the weight of the waste collected/recycled. The fastest way to increase recycling rate is to recycle food waste. Food is heavy, recycling food via Anaerobic Digestion, coverts the food to Bio Gas, which produces electricity, the residual produce is supplied to farmers as a fertiliser.
So how did the council lose the plot, the Environmental Protections Act 1990 Section 46: allows the authority (council) specify the type of container (receptacle) that they will collect waste in. It doesn’t give them the right to specify the supplier of these containers – This would be a monopoly which is illegal. In addition the council has a duty to collect your Domestic waste (this is a service which is provided under your council tax, therefore the council can not charge you any additional charge for this service unless the type of waste is specifically detailed under schedule 2 of the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992.)
Additional Sacks, The council will sell you additional sacks, the only charge is for the additional costs related to the supply of the sacks and not a charge for the waste which is collected in these sacks.
The latest new from the council is that the rollout of this service is to be soft, Gary Cowan councillor in charge of Environment, mentioned that the council will allow black sacks to be collected in the first few weeks, and will send operatives to visit household who do not understand that they have to use the blue sacks. Also a number of blue sacks have been stolen from doorsteps, since the council do not have recorded delivery then perhaps a large amount of households will need replacement sacks, since sacks seem to go missing.
The basic rule should you wish to take the legal route would be to reject the councils sacks and supply your own, hence removing the quantity restriction. I am not certain how specific the councils specification can be, I suppose that is for a judge to decide. What is certain once you accept the councils sacks you have agreed to their terms.