Friday 7 March
According to a new report from the Adam Smith Institute, The Waste of Nations by Gordon Hector, pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) waste charges are the best way to encourage recycling and to boost profitable waste businesses.
The report stresses that PAYT must not be used as a 'dustbin tax' and that its introduction must be accompanied by a corresponding fall in council tax. Evidence from Holland, Ireland and Germany suggests that PAYT should not increase household bills and that, indeed, it may offer an opportunity to reduce them.
According to the report:
The report also calls for the full liberalization of the refuse collection sector, so that private companies would have to compete for customers. Such a move would keep prices down and increase customer satisfaction. It would also lead to innovation and encourage refuse collectors to recycle more waste.
As the ASI's policy director, Tom Clougherty, says:
"The government's proposals for variable waste charging have run into widespread opposition because they are half-baked and ill thought out. The ASI's plan is entirely different. Liberalizing refuse collection and introducing pay-as-you-throw charging would dramatically increase recycling and help the environment, but it would also be an opportunity to reduce taxes, save money, and increase the quality of a vital service."
The final section of the report argues that recycling should be put on a commercial footing. Recycling facilities and providers should be allowed to merge and consolidate, and the free movement and trade of recyclables should be established. This would allow economies of scale to be established, bringing down the cost of recycling and recycled goods, and ensuring a market for commercially viable businesses in the long run.