Two waste officials – one for the Welsh Government and one for Zero Waste Scotland – have said that pay-as-you-throw is not likely to be introduced in their countries because it is too politically sensitive.
Andy Rees, head of waste strategy for the Welsh Government, said at RWM 2013: “Pay-as-you-throw is an incredibly sensitive political issue, and I have to choose my words very carefully as there are press in the audience.”
Charlie Devine, head of resource management at Zero Waste Scotland, told MRW that pay-as-you-throw schemes were “too contentious” politically to be implemented. He said Scotland was considering implementing rewards for recycling schemes as a “half-way house”, allowing housholders to realise the value of secondary materials and getting the material back into secondary markets.
But despite reluctance to implement pay-as-you-throw schemes, Rees said: “In Europe, and the world, there is plenty of evidence that pay-as-you-throw does work in terms of reducing waste and increasing recycling rates.”
He said Welsh householders had successfully met the recent 52% target with voluntary engagement: “And we are optimistic our next target of 58% will also be achieved through voluntary participation. But over 70%…we will have to see.”
Introducing pay-as-you-throw for households was one of the options up for discussion in the European Commission’s consultation on waste targets, which ended last week.
Plans for the controversial schemes in the UK were scrapped in 2010, following a decision by the coalition Government not to approve any pilots to trial the measure. Pay-as-you-throw was introduced in Labour’s 2008 Climate Change Act, and would have allowed local authorities to charge households who generated more than a certain amount of waste.
- Rees and Devine agreed the EU should set higher targets, something that has divided the waste and recyling industry.