Official: your time is worth nothing.

Question asked by Bob Spink.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the average time per year spent by a household in sorting and recycling rubbish.


No such estimate has been made.

Yup. They simply haven\’t even bothered to measure it, the expenditure of the ultimate non-renewable resource, time, in the recycling of things to save resources.

I\’m right therefore. I must be, this is the only estimate that anyone has done at all in the UK (and yes, I have talked to one of the major researchers in the field who confirmed there are no papers on this).

They are quite simply assuming that your time has no value at all, that\’s why they don\’t measure it and why they don\’t include it in the cost benefit analysis.

Ignorant bastards.

13 thoughts on “Official: your time is worth nothing.”

  1. Makara Economic Solutions plc is pleased to announce the opening of a new economic consultancy in the comment section of John Redwood’s blog. Today’s idea: we need a world currency and a world bank!

  2. Any chance you might apply the same logic to traffic jams and building or improving roads?

    Best regards

    Tim adds: Erm I do. Roadpricing, congestion charging, great things……

  3. Sigh.

    My (spare) time is, in fact, worth nothing – because nobody is willing to pay me anything for it. My salary is fixed, my hours of work are fixed, and whatever I do outside those hours is uneconomic activity.

    So it might as well be recycling, although I agree this is largely a pointless activity.

    There is no cost unless something is being foregone, which is not so in this case

    Tim adds: “My (spare) time is, in fact, worth nothing – because nobody is willing to pay me anything for it.”

    Really? So the time that you spend watching Tricia, vegging on the sofa, playing with your children, making love to your inamorata, I can have this time for free then?

    My lawn does need mowing…….

  4. BlacquesJacquesShellacques

    Yeah, well my hours of work are not fixed and I can earn more if I have more time and I bitterly resent the state attitude that Timmy points out.

    And let’s not even get started on the time I waste on the endless forms I fill out full of useless or to-be-ignored information.

    So never mind mowing Tim’s lawn, come here and sort my rubbish and I’ll make love to your inamorata.

  5. “My (spare) time is, in fact, worth nothing ”

    In that case I expect to see you on my drive at 8.00 tomorrow morning, ready to wash my car.

    If your time is worth nothing, your labour is worth nothing.

  6. If your ” time is worth nothing” ,the state will require more of it in the future
    how long does your volunteer labor have to be before it is recognized as slavery??

  7. congestion charging is an odd one – this is surely an example of a tax that, if it succeeds, will cost more to collect than it will bring in. Given the (lack of) traffic flow in London and the very high cost of parking, there are surely sufficient disincentives to drive in London. The congestion charge simply puts a costly layer of bureaucracy on top without doing anything measurable to reduce congestion.

  8. Good point. So I did some measuring. Tearing the windows out of envelopes, washing out cartons and plastic trays, pots etc, taking bottles to the bottle bank, filling up the recycling wheelie bin, putting all the garden waste into the other wheelie bin, which needs to be cut up properly to fit comes to, on average, around 2 hours of work which on my day rate is £100 per week, £400 per month or £4800 unpaid work for the goveernment/local authority per year.

  9. “The congestion charge simply puts a costly layer of bureaucracy on top without doing anything measurable to reduce congestion.”

    No, the congestion charge measurably reduced traffic; it’s just that the water pipe replacement, bus priority and pedestrian priority measures that happened at the same time reduced capacity. Had the charge not been in place, congestion would’ve been worse.

  10. On recycling, we need to remember a few things. First, if its voluntary then this aspect of the cost/benefit is irrelevant, people can make their own minds up. Second, the study Tim quotes suggests people apply a lower cost to doing recycilng than one might think. Third, if councils do save money from the exercise this should be publicised, and then the amout returned to council tax payers who do recycle. Brent claim it saves them £700,000, which must be something like £7 a year per household, but I am asking for more details.

    Tim adds: Matthew, thank you for making my point for me. I don’t doubt that the Councils save money in the way the run the recycling system. They do, after all, get the revenues from selling the materials.

    You say that’s £7 per household per year. OK. Now, if (as in the estimates I’ve seen) it takes 15 minutes a week at £10 an hour (the average wage for the country) for the households to sort the rubbish to recycle then that £7 saving comes at a cost to the family of £130 in time.

    This is a net loss of wealth of £123 a year.

    Now all I know about my own figures is that they are wrong. In detail that is. And what I know about the official figures is that they are also wrong for they are leaving out this major cost of the process.

    Note that the government doesn’t say that people do it voluntarily and thus it’s valued at less, nor do they say that even with those costs it still makes sense. They say they’ve not even considered the point. Which, of course, they should.

  11. “Brent claim it saves them £700,000, which must be something like £7 a year per household, but I am asking for more details.”

    OK. I’ll send a cheque for £7. In return, lay off with the recycling and collect my bins every week.

  12. Tim – the point about if it is voluntary is that people must prefer it to the cost of doing it – you don’t need to make any calculations. I’ve pointed out before you only quote a partial account of your figures – the time taken, but do not note that the vast majority of respondents said they agree with doing it. So it’s hard to value their time objectively (hence I agree the Council shoud offer a cash incentive).

    Kay Tie – Brent does collect bins once a week?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *