Subsidies from the Waste and Resources Action Programme enabling councils to offer cheap home composting bins will stop at the end of September. Industry commentators predicted the end of the subsidised products in January last year when WRAP doubled the cost of the bins.
The end also seemed imminent when 30 per cent budget cuts were imposed on WRAP by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs in February 2008.
But WRAP director of local government services Philip Ward told MRW that the move did not mean they were withdrawing all composting support for councils. He said: The scheme was always about trying to change peoples behaviour by helping them to compost at home. We are phasing out the physical selling of composting bins, were going to let commercial suppliers do it.
Ward admitted that the subsidies had been affected by financial pressures put on WRAP but said it is not a priority to subsidise bins.
He explained that the schemes advisory role would be expanded. We will be broadening the role of these [home composting] advisors [for councils] to cover a wider waste prevention role, he explained.
Ward said this will include advice on minimising junk mail and how to deal with bulky items for example. All advisors will be retrained to provide this broader level of assistance. This renewed focus required less money than for the composting bins, he said.
This year we subsidised bins up to £3 million, the year before it was up to £6m. Its used a lot of money and been good value for money.
But, he said: Next year we will be spending £1.5m supporting the training [of advisors to offer broader waste prevention advice].
Ward added that this step had been taken because the Waste Strategy Review in 2007 had called for an increased emphasis on reducing residual waste.