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Time for pay as you throw, says Larac

The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (Larac) has called for pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) laws to alleviate financial pressures on councils.

Legislation was introduced in 2007 to allow councils to charge for waste collections but after no local authorities implemented such a scheme it was repealed in 2010.

Writing for sister title Local Government Chronicle, Larac chair Andrew Bird said councils preferred to reduce collection frequency or bin size instead during this period because it was politically a “more palatable” option.

He said local government finances were not under the same pressure then as they are today, so councils would now be more likely to implement PAYT schemes given the ability to do so.

“The primary motive now is not just to boost recycling, but to save money,” he said.

“PAYT would be a challenge to implement, but not impossible. Around 40% of English councils are already charging for garden waste collections.”

Such schemes are operated mainly by private waste firms in many countries, Bird said, with frequency, volume and weight being measured for charging.

He added that the current cost to householders of waste collection services is 40p to 60p a week, rising to between £1.20 and £1.60 when including disposal.

“What other service, utility or otherwise, can you get for £1 per week? Local government operates very efficient collection and disposal services, which we don’t shout about enough,” he said.

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