Pay As You Throw

We\’re given some costs on this new pay as you throw scheme for domestic waste:

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs estimates that start-up costs for pay-as-you-throw schemes will be up £200,000 per council, with annual running costs between £200,000 and £500,000. If the schemes were rolled out across Britain, Defra says they could cost up to £60 million a year on average but with potential savings of up to £200?million from low waste costs.

As ever, there is no estimate for the greatest cost in the scheme. The cost of the households in actually sorting their waste. A few months back I phoned Defra and asked them what in fact was their estimate for the time it would take to sort materials so as to comply with the recycling schemes.

They said they didn\’t have one. Which is odd, because an American study (done in Seattle) showed that for purely domestic non-food waste it took 15 minutes per household per week. Include garden and food waste and it rose to 45 minutes or so. 24 million households and an average wage for the country of £9 an hour and you get costs from the time spent preparing for such a recycling system at £2,8 billion to £8.4 billion.

Now I agree that pay as you throw is only part of it, it isn\’t the whole sorting and recycling thing itself, but then again it is indeed part of the whole same movement. What the supporters of changes in the way that rubbish is dealt with is need to is show that the benefits of the new system are greater than the costs: and none of them are even including that £3 to £8 billion number in their calculations. Presumably because they know that if they do they cannot show a benefit over such a large cost.The entire monstrosity of a plan is simply going to make us all poorer by billions of pounds.

That\’s why no one is willing to provide accurate figures as to the costs and or the benefits.


4 thoughts on “Pay As You Throw”

  1. Given the context whereby we have to raise recycling rates to comply with European law, it might be more appropriate to use willingness to pay measures to estimate costs, rather than average income.

    How much would people be willing to pay for their waste to be sorted downstream instead of taking the time to do it themselves?

  2. Dumping my rubbish in the next front garden but one – or, better, in the nearest council car park (I will have my back to the CCTV or wear a hoodie) – will cost me about 30 seconds of my time. Furthermore, I will not have the bother of sorting my rubbish. Makes economic sense to me – and not only me I’m sure.

  3. Where your argument falls down, of course, is that the hour I might spend sorting the rubbish (if I could be arsed) would otherwise be spent sitting in front of the fire drinking wine, and nobody pays me to do that, so that actual cost is zero.

    I am not ever going to use any of my PAID time to sort rubbish.

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