Charging at the Dump?

Whilst the first part of Monday’s Waste Panel’s meeting was positive, the next item on the agenda was far from positive, and it had the potential of ending badly for Cornwall Council reputation. This agenda item was on how to save money from the Waste Management Budget. As the budget predictions for this service will result in an £1.4m overspend by the end of the financial year.

For some,  saving money means starting to charging for certain things. In the Waste Panel’s report a recommendation was to start charging of disposing certain ‘non-statutory’ – the in-vogue excuse of not doing something – waste at the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC). The  proposals were to charge for disposing tyres, rubble, gas bottles and asbestos at a HWRC.

Currently, disposing of these items at the HWRC is free as long as it is from residential properties. However, our neighbouring authorities like Devon and Somerset County Council charge for disposal for these items. I made the point today that just because these authorities charge, it does not mean Cornwall Council has to.

For instance,  Devon CC charges £2 per tyre for disposal with Somerset CC charging £3.30 for un-rimmed and £4.20 for rimmed. For rubble Devon CC charge £2 per bag, Asbestos £20 per sheet and Plasterboard £7 per sheet. The disposal of a gas bottle in Somerset CC starts at £6 to £35 depending on type.

Could be now no longer allowed at HWRC

I made the point that instead of charging for disposal you should instead ban gas bottles from the site. This would save the authority between £50k – £100k per year. The reason for the ban is because these bottles belong to the companies who provide them. By banning them it will force people to give them back to these companies, who will more than likely pick them up for free because they are worth something to them. Many at the meeting felt Cornwall Council should not incur the cost of giving these bottles back to the companies who own them.

When it came to the vote the Panel decided not to accept the recommendation in the report for charging, but added my point (As I  am not a voting member) in the recommendations of no longer accepting gas bottles at the HWRC. There were though a few amendments of actually charging for these items, but luckily these were easily defeated.

Also discussed was the opening hours of the sites, with much debate on reducing the hours of opening in the morning, afternoon, or reducing the opening days. The Panel decided to help save costs to keep to the winter opening hours (9am-4pm) throughout the year.

Even though the Waste Panel made these recommendations, it will be up to Cabinet to make the final decision. So, we might end up with a charge for these items after all.

6 comments

  • Joyce Duffin

    It would be interesting to know how much it costs the council to clear up from people who flytip. Making it more difficult or costly to use the tip can only mean an increase in flytipping.

  • Hugh Gray-Wallis

    The opening times are tricky, it is during the summer months that gardens are generating more green waste, many of us can’t compost at home even though we’d like to. (modern estate houses don’t have the outdoor space (thanks Planners, although we did chose to buy it!)). So ….at work all day, long summer evenings, what to do with the grass cuttings? Keep till the weekend? Or …?Danger of fly tipping as the previous commenter said.

  • Andrew Wallis

    Many had thought there would have been a massive increase in fly-tipping when the council stopped all of the commercial waste which ended up in the HWRC. Yes, there has been a small increase in fly-tipping since. This has resulted in roughly an extra £10k (thought it might be more by the end of the financial year) being spent on clearing it up.

    That might seem a lot, but if you compare it with the savings a near £1m from stopping commercial waste in the HWRC you might think a slight increase is worth it to save the money.

    However, saving money does not take into account the negativity, or public perception in seeing any increase in fly-tipping.

  • Andrew Wallis

    Hi Hugh,

    The HWRC will still be open seven days a week. There was discussion on shutting on certain days, but this was not cost effective, and it was felt the standard opening hours through-out the year was best.

  • Mandy Pearce

    As with all waste materials, recycling is the way forward. Tyres can now be recyled and made into carpet underlay, rubber matting for play areas and safety surfacing. This does involve investing in machinery, but solves tyre disposal in an environmentally friendly way and maybe the council could sell the raw material taken from the tyres to manufacturers to recoup the initial investment……….just a thought?

  • Jon Harrison

    As Mandy says, ‘recycling is the way forward’. I would just like to draw your attention to the fantastic work that the guys over at ECOLOGIC (next to Pool Market ex Focus building) are doing. I recently needed to get rid of a ‘fat’ style TV having bought a flat screen. I donated it to them rather than dumping it. They will then take it in and it can be purchased by anyone who wants to do a few hours community work to pay for it. They offer this service for all kinds of items. I understand that they have found it very difficult to get any funding and this is a shame. It costs more to dump a sofa than it does to recycle the component parts. Have a look at their website:
    http://ecologiccornwall.org/

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