Tourism and the Additional Costs to Cornwall

Tourism is a major business for Cornwall and some will say it is Cornwall’s only major business, but that would be a disservice to the others who don’t work in this sector.

With an increase of visitors this generates more rubbish, which has to be disposed of. The commercial waste on average totals around 15,000 tonnes per year. The disposal of this waste is paid for by the businesses and not the tax payer. Sadly, at least 50% of this still ends up in Landfill.

For waste not covered under the commercial umbrella the figure of rubbish generated is far higher at around 30,000 tonnes generated per year. The disposal of this is paid by Cornwall Council; that means you and me. This costs Cornwall Council on average £4.5 million per year to dispose of.

So whilst the Government cuts Cornwall Council’s budget, it still has to pay for services that have been generated by those not residents of Cornwall. In turn other authorities benefit because whilst their residents are away, they are not having to pay for the disposal of their rubbish. You cannot argue that tourism generates a huge amount of income to Cornwall, but shouldn’t the Government realise this extra burden and make sure additional funding is available to help areas like waste.

More importantly, more effort should be made to stop this tourism waste simply going into Landfill. It should or more importantly must be recycled. One of the problems with encouraging more recycling is recycling collection at the kerbside is fortnightly. The starting point should be a weekly collection of recyclable items, as this would help encourage an increase in recycling.

Until then we will still be paying this high costs, just like we are for our water bills.


  • mynotsofictionallife

    It would also help if Cornwall Council would bring in recycling bins for members of the public to use whilst they're out and about in our towns and city.

  • Stephen Richardson

    This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that vast amounts of the 'profits' from tourism go straight out of Cornwall anyway. It is big businesses that benefit most from tourism not the average person – yet it is the average person that foots the bill. Perhaps business rates for large companies operating tourist businesses should be increased to cover the cost of waste disposal and the cost of cleaning/keeping safe beaches?

  • Cllr Andrew Wallis

    To Mynots,

    I agree. Recycle bins should be provided for the public. They problem I would guess is people would cross contaminate and therefore make it costly to operate.

    Will ask the question though.

  • Cllr Andrew Wallis


    Yes another good point. Until the Gov changes how Business Rates are refunded, or Cornwall Council can keep them I guess this will not happen

  • Sandy Angove

    What are the economics of Cornwall Council collecting and charging businesses for their waste and recycling?

  • Cllr Andrew Wallis

    Cornwall Council tenders out the waste contracts and is in the process of new contracts.

  • Anonymous

    I speak as a director of a self catering letting agency here in Cornwall letting 75 properties.

    I bring 2 things to the table, the rubbish generated by holiday makers is paid to be cleared by the owner of the property who pays council tax. So yes the council are paying for the rubbish to be cleared but in the same way they are paying for our (residents) rubbish to be cleared. The only ones benefitting are the councils where the holiday makers have left an empty home.

    Secondly the country as a whole needs to standardise on what they will and wont recycle. A holiday maker from one county can recycle paper, plastic, cans and glass in there recycling back home but in Cornwall they wont take the recycling box if it has plastic in it.

    I am afraid you can leave as much information as you like for a holiday maker but when they are used to putting X, Y & Z into the recycling box they will continue to do the same.

    It then falls on my team to sort out the recycliing boxes and clean the maggots out of thems every few weeks as they havent been taken away. I am sorry to say that when you have a maggot infested recycling box the simplest method of sorting it is to throw the contents into the normal bin thus going to landfil.

    If the councils all standardise and take away the same items we would not end up in a position where it is 'easier not to bother'.

  • Cllr Andrew Wallis

    Last Anon,

    You raise a few very interesting points, especially the point on people from others areas not knowing what is and what can be recycled. Thank you again for posting.

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