Government should tax disposable and hard-to-recycle products in order to produce less waste according to a new report A Zero Waste UK published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and Green Alliance.
It recommends that a new tax targets products such as throw-away cameras, disposable razors and non-rechargeable batteries, backing the suggestion with the examples of Sweden, Denmark and Belgium who all reduced consumption of disposable products through the introduction of similar taxes.
IPPR director Nick Pearce said: We have become an increasingly throw-away society, reliant on cheap, disposable and hard-to-recycle goods, adding each year to the UKs 300 million tonne rubbish mountain. Business needs to take greater responsibility for the whole life of products, by paying a product tax that goes towards payment for disposal. This is only fair if we are going to introduce pay-as-you-throw charges for collecting household rubbish.
The report also supports councils being given variable charging powers, a move supported by the Local Government Association (LGA).
LGA environment chair councillor Paul Bettison said: Central Government should give councils the power to be able to choose if they want a save-as-you-throw system. Councils want a power, not a duty, so authorities can decide whats best for their local area. Its not about paying more its about paying in a different way. Its also fairer, because if you throw out less you pay less.
20/11/06: I fully agree with this approach but why aren't the Government looking at such items as disposable nappies and the problems they give to Landfill Sites?
Posted by Councillor Vivienne Chapman
21/11/06: Further to previous comment, the manufacturers of disposable nappies could include a yellow plastic sack that seals and pay a tax to local councils to fund a vehicle collecting the yellow sacks for treatment - e.g. autoclave. This would take the nappies out of landfill.
Posted by Derek Gutteridge
23/11/06: I agree wholeheartedly with the proposal to introduce a tax on disposable items - including nappies and the the proliferation of new 'cleaning' accessories like single use toilet wipes.
Posted by Martin Plane
23/11/06: Having skimmed through this document, there are lots of good ideas that go way beyond the normal scope of "waste management" - this is the approach that is needed. However, governments and their short-termism/flavour of the month type thinking are a huge barrier to this. It will probably have to be pushed centrally from Europe and beyond that, there needs to be global recognition of these links and impacts so that developing countries can take full advantage of this new way of thinking.
Posted by Tony Privitera