Councils could soon offer ‘Easyjet-style’ waste services, according to a senior figure – with residents expected to pay extra for services on top of the basic collections.
Joy Blizzard, chair of the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee, said councils were weighing up different ways to meet increasing recycling targets with decreasing budgets.
Warwickshire County Council will take the operation of its household waste recycling centres in-house next week as part of moves to save almost £1m from them.
Mid Devon District Council recently ran a three-month trial of charging residents for garden waste collections, while the Somerset Waste Board earlier this year introduced entry fees of £2 for residents at four of its 18 recycling sites to avoid them closing
Blizzard told MRW: “In the current climate everything is up for grabs. Councils are having a good hard look at everything they do, and we will see innovative solutions.
“It is not going to be business as usual. Are we going to end up with an Easyjet-style waste service, with basic provision and then charges for extras?
“Councils have to be realistic. Waste is not going to be exempt from the cuts coming our way.”
She said that there was always a risk of damaging results when cutting services, but that the landfill tax was a major motivation for local authorities to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Warwickshire is taking over the management of sites in Grendon, Cherry Orchard, Princes Drive, Stockton, Wellesbourne and Shipston on 1 December. It already runs two centres directly - in Stratford and Rugby.
Group manager of waste management Glenn Fleet said: “Running the sites directly will mean we have the flexibility to get services running how we want them, and work with the private and third sectors to increase recycling and reuse.”
Meanwhile consultancy Eunomia defended WRAP-funded advice to Mid Devon District Council that it should charge for garden waste collection.
Eunomia urged the authority to collect a greater number of materials on a weekly basis from the kerbside and to charge for green waste.
The council ran a three-month trial of the proposals on 832 households in the Cullompton area but decided not to take them any further as they were too expensive.
Eunomia project director Joe Papineschi said results would improve over time if the council implemented the scheme for real. He added: “I would be very likely to make similar recommendations again.”