Look, please, can we get this straight?
The confusion began last week when the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which had intended to push ahead with national bin taxes, was over-ruled by Downing Street, which is unenthusiastic about the plans before forthcoming local elections.
The U-turn was the latest sign of Mr Brown\’s fear of introducing new green taxes that are seen as disastrous electorally but are being heavily promoted within Whitehall as essential to any programme to avert climate change.
There are arguments in favour of recycling. They might not be all that strong, some of them might be wrong and we might be attempting to recycle too much, but that\’s all one issue and let\’s place it to one side for a moment.
There\’s also another issue, which is climate change. That indeed does mean reducing emissions, or taxing people so that they pay for them.
But the thing is, they\’re two quite separate issues. There are some things which, when recycled, reduce emissions (aluminium cans being the poster child here). There are other things which, dependent upon the method of recycling, increase emissions (wormeries as opposed to landfill for food and garden waste for example). There are yet other things where emissions are not a factor, like disposable nappies as against washable ones (although I do fear that the capture of methane from landfill was not included in that calculation).
Arguing for recycling to beat climate change is ignoring those differences: it\’s entirely possible that some of the recycling ideas being touted will increase emissions and thus make climate change worse.
All of which simply goes to show that we are ruled by morons.
We’re being told that the reason for ‘pay as you throw’ charges is “to get more people recycling”; if that’s the case, why are they not charging only for recyclables placed in general rubbish rather than being recycled? I may already be recycling as much as possible of my waste (although as my local authority doesn’t accept cardboard and plastic, it’s not my fault that I’m not). Let’s just recognise that it’s a tax intended simply to raise money, and they’re imposing it simply because they can.