Veggie Benn\’s finally flipped

No doubt there is some EU nonsense behind this:

People will be asked to pick through their rubbish to set aside every piece that can be recycled, re-used, rotted or incinerated under government plans to move Britain towards a zero waste nation.

Houses that already have up to four bins and boxes may get even more — including slop buckets — as the government sets out to teach the public how to become recycling experts.

But this is entirely insane.

The minimum cost of such a scheme is £5.5 billion*.

We currently spend £3 billion on dealing with waste.

Absolute madness.

*The minimum value of the time people will have to spend sorting for recycling. And yes, we do have to ascribe a value to such time: we\’re told that we must in that lovely report by Joe Stiglitz on alternatives to GDP.

15 thoughts on “Veggie Benn\’s finally flipped”

  1. If there is no cost attached to using your time then come and work for me – I’m sure I’ll value you doing my cleaning

  2. it takes as much/little time to put your rubbish into different bins as it does to throw your rubbish in one bin – do the sifting at the moment you throw something into a bin.

    of course, if you will insist on putting everything into one bin and then sifting and sorting at a later date, then this will take a lot of time

  3. diogenes1960, I’m not convinced. Do you have multiple small bins in your kitchen which you set out or empty into larger external bins for collection? If so, you must have a very large kitchen, which does go against the requirement for higher density housing in our cities.

    What about remnants of food (e.g. raw meat) on plastic trays? Are we supposed to wash our rubbish before discarding it? Remove the labels from our jam jars? What about any waste food itself? We can use plastic bin bags or we can use more water and bleach to regularly wash out our bins to prevent disease – which would you prefer?

  4. How did you calcualte £5.5bn? I think I am quite keen on recycling but Brent council, where I live, does have a mad recycling policy. I asked them whether they even discussed the cost to households and they referred me to the meeting minutes which showed they didn’t. When I raised this they started ignoring my emails. What’s annoying is they originally planned to make it voluntary and pay people a refund on their council tax if they did it, which of course solves all these problems.

    Tim adds: 45 minutes per household per week. 24 million housholds, hours at minimum wage.

    We’ve asked (ie, I had someone ask the govt in the Commons) what times estimates they used for houshold recycling. None. Same question asked of the Commission in the European Parliament. None. So the only estimates we have are a study of recycling in Seattle. Simple recycling is 15 mins per household per week. Complex, including food and garden waste, 45 minutes.

    The price attatched? Implicit in the Stiglitz report on alternatives to GDP. We should measure household production and we should measure it as the cost of undifferentiated general labour. This is indeed household production so should be so measured.

  5. Recycling is easy in theory, and onerous in practice. It attacks the quality of your life, regardless of how simply you live.

    Paper: If it has glue or plastic embedded. The window envelope is the standard vehicle for every business that ever sends you any mail.

    Tins Bottles etc- You do know you are supposed to wash and dry them?

    Polystyrene: Get the car out, you will have to take it to the dump.

    Batteries, electronics, plastics, tetrapacks, old prams : To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump…

    The task of seperation is coming closer to home all the time. The purists will target your lavvy next. You will have to have two, one for piddles, one for poops. Woe betide you if you get it wrong. You and I, are a source of pollution you see. We have carbon footprints, and yer feet’s too big.

  6. You poor bastards. I put a black sack by the kerb when I go to work on Monday and Thursday and when I come home in the evening it’s gone.

  7. The Great Simpleton

    I asked my local council for the cost benefit analysis of the latest “introduced by popular demand” scheme. This is the one where we have to wash and dry all cans and plastic bottles and put them in a seperate bin which has its own collection team.

    The answer was that they didn’t do one, with some waffle about EU land fill taxes thrown in.

  8. Ok, I think that Seattle survey probably is a bit misleading. The food and garden waste wasn’t done by most people – the median time spent was 0 mins – so those who did I think are ‘keen recyclers’ and therefore quite likely to spend much longer doing it than less keen (although you could argue they would be better at it). The survey also finds 83% of respondents would be willing to spend 10 mins longer recyling if it was necessary to meet targets, and a similar percentage would be willing to spend $2 a week to do so. On the other hand the way Seattle charges for non-recycled collection means there are some cash savings from recycling, which is rare in the UK.

    I think it’s a good starting base on which to demand some council or government office does there own survey, but it does suggest it might not be as simple as counting their time and multiplying by the minimum wage.

    Tim adds: The point isn’t whether it is 5 minutes or 5 hours: it’s that everyone knows there is a time cost there and absolutely no one is willing to include it as a cost. Thus all their cost benefit analyses are crap and they know it. This is, in the technical jargon, known as being “lying shits”.

  9. Brian, follower of Deornoth

    WILL I FUCK wash out the empty bottles I’m putting in the rubbish.

    Better just to empty the whole damn lot into the middle of the street.

  10. “The point isn’t whether it is 5 minutes or 5 hours: it’s that everyone knows there is a time cost there and absolutely no one is willing to include it as a cost.”

    Well it does matter, because you keep simply asserting its £5.5bn (I see another post above) and so I think are undermining the important point on recycling which we want to make. As i said what should happen is the Council should pay householders a fee by size of recycled goods, and then let people opt-in or opt-out. I can see various problems with this but presumably they aren’t insurmountable.

  11. “the Council should pay householders a fee by size of recycled goods”

    Thus failing to distinguish between people who have recyclable stuff but don’t recycle it, and those who don’t have any in the first place.

  12. Tim, I agree that the time cost should be included. What hourly rate are you using to calculate the £5.5bn figure? I hope it is not minimum wage – it should be much higher.

    Tim adds: Yes, minimum wage. For the Stiglitz report says that we should measure household production at “undifferentiated general labour rates”.

    It’s not perfect for all the reasons we both know….but it is an official source we can point to.

  13. Yeah, the Seattle study gives no backing to using a higher figure than minimum wage.

    Ian – “Thus failing to distinguish between people who have recyclable stuff but don’t recycle it, and those who don’t have any in the first place.” – I don’t think that’s right. They’ve paid for the goods in the first place, more goods have a higher material value, and then you simply just need to charge for refuse collection by the amount produced. If it’s not viable (even when including – if necessary notional – pollution taxes) to pick the stuff up then it’s not worth doing at all.

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