Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bin Tax

Bin tax contemplated

Sir Michael Lyons, the government appointed bigwig who is considering how to change the Council Tax system, is contemplating the introduction of a new tax on our litter! The general idea is that those who create the most rubbish will pay the most money to have it removed.

Unfortunately this would mean that a family of four living next door to a couple will be penalised (perhaps by as much as an extra ten pounds per month), despite the fact that the bin men will still have the same two wheelie bins to empty! There is no extra cost involved in the refuse collection service, but the intention is to force us to recycle more of our litter and leave less for the bin man to cart away. This of course would still not help the family of four. I can already envisage some people scurrying up and down the back lanes looking for a half empty bin to fill.

Once again we may see the introduction of a further means by which a layer of government can take more money from us.

I still hold dear to the principle that all service users within the boundaries of a local authority should contribute something towards those services, it is only then that ALL electors can appreciate how much local government costs, and how much political decisions can affect the individual and the family. Wether it be through the present system or a system of local income tax is neither here nor there, if we all have to pay something, we might start to stop and think about the policies of those wishing to be elected! In places like South Tyneside there are thousands who pay and contribute either nothing at all or very little, so the consequences of political decisions are quite meaningless to them.


The Daily Mail

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Curly, surely it's only right that people pay for the amount of waste they produce. Currently, low waste producers, paying the same council tax as higher producers, are effectively subsidising the irresponsible and wasteful behaviour of others.

Councils pay for landfill by the ton, so it's reasonable that they should charge householders similarly.

As an alternative, we could reward good performers with council tax rebates, so instead of 'polluter pays' we would have 'conserver gains'.

However, we also need to reduce the waste that we produce. Tons of what ends up in landfill comes from useless packaging, often from supermarkets (why shrinkwrap bananas, Tesco?). Then there's our throwaway lifestyle which, for example, dumps mountains of disposable nappies everyyear.

A system of waste charging has been in place in Germany for two years now and it's resulted in a massive jump in recycling, and unexpectedly, a change in behaviour by the supermarkets. Green groups encouraged shoppers to leave the pointless plastic packaging in the shop. This change in shopping habits (and the extra amount the supermarkets ended up paying to be dumped) prompted shops to reduce the amount and type of packaging used meaning less plastic, and more recyclable cardboard and paper.
I still do not think it right to punish families just because they naturally produce more waste than couples or single occupiers. However, I agree strongly with your notion of rewarding those who recycle or conserve, incentive always tends to be a better way forward than punitive legislation or taxation.
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