ARCHIVE: Incentives for household recycling
Methane emissions from landfill count for about 3% of UK greenhouse gas emissions. We have made progress in reducing waste to landfill - household waste recycling has quadrupled in the last 10 years and waste is growing much less quickly than the economy. However, we still lag behind much of Europe and we need to do more.
Following consultation over the summer of 2007 we announced that the Climate Change Bill would provide a power for local authorities to pilot incentives for household waste minimisation and recycling. These powers would allow pilot authorities to recognise more effectively the efforts of those householders who reduce, reuse and recycle their waste, and provide an incentive to those who do not change their behaviour.
Under the powers in the Act a maximum of five local authorities can pilot the schemes. Councils can come forward with their own schemes, for approval by the Secretary of State, that fit local circumstances. This approach will ensure that the impacts of incentives in England can be monitored and reported back to Parliament before a decision is made whether to roll them out more widely.
No local authorities have so far expressed an interest in piloting a scheme. However, the powers in the Act remain available for use. Interested councils should contact Defra at email@example.com or WRAP. The powers are voluntary and were introduced in response to requests from local government.
Powers in the Act enable authorities to pay rebates to householders for good performance on recycling and waste minimisation. They also allow an authority, if it chooses, to collect incentive based payments from householders for their waste collection. To avoid placing additional burdens on local residents, the powers require that any pilot requesting payments from householders must return to residents all the revenue it collects. This means that residents as a whole will not be paying more. Authorities will also be able to pay back rebates, and collect any payments, through the Council Tax system, should they wish to do so.
Draft guidance that was published in June for Local Authorities and is available at the link below. Please note that the consultation is now closed.
- Guidance to local authorities on recycling - June 2008
We have built in further checks and balances to help ensure the right level of public protection. Pilots can only be introduced where there is a good kerbside recycling service in place. Authorities will also have to take account of the needs of, or impacts on, potentially disadvantaged groups – for example families with young children or the elderly. Finally pilot authorities will also have to have a flytipping prevention strategy in place. Evidence from other countries suggests that fly tipping would not necessarily increase, but we consider that having a strategy in place is good common sense. Again, draft guidance gives more detail of these safeguards – see above link.
In June 2008, Defra wrote to local authorities about waste incentives schemes. The letter is available below.
The Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament (15 November 2007) is available below, as is the Impact Assessment which evaluates potential costs and benefits.
In 2007 the Government consulted on incentives for household waste minimisation and recycling, and received 171 responses. See the 2007 consultation documents below:
- Consultation document (PDF 180 KB)
- Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment (PDF 150 KB)
- Summary of consultation responses (PDF 250 KB)
- Factsheet on waste incentive schemes – overview
- Factsheet on waste incentives schemes – for local authorities (PDF 40 KB)
Defra funded a research project to examine the potential impact of waste charging in England. Government believes that the costs and benefits identified in this report apply equally to a charging scheme or a revenue-neutral financial incentive scheme. The project has been peer reviewed. The project did not consider local government finance issues – for example, whether any financial incentive scheme should be revenue neutral or how it should interact with Council Tax.
- Modelling the Impact of Household Charging for Waste in England (PDF 1.3 MB)
- Peer review of the above report (PDF 60 KB)
Page last modified:
22 January 2009
Page published: 24 May 2007