Most homes in the UK recycle their rubbish these days but soon those who do not bother are set to be fined to make them change their behaviour. Wales is second in Europe and third globally at recycling.
The Welsh Government wants no waste going to landfill by 2050 and has set its local authorities ambitious targets with financial penalties for failure. Some councils such as Rhondda Cynon Taf council are going to fine £100 to those homes who simply throw their plastic, tins and cardboard in the bin.
Similarly changes to Guernsey’s new waste collection system will start in September with a full “pay as you throw” rubbish scheme introduced in 2019.
With it will come changes in the way people pay for household waste collection. This year, the average waste charge per household is expected to be about £130, based on the Tax on Real Property value of each household.
From 2019, when the full system is in place, the parishes will still charge, but only for collecting your rubbish. The government will then recover the costs of processing, treatment and disposal by charging per black bag of waste produced. It will use a system of prepaid stickers.
In addition, people could also pay an annual fixed charge to pay for the “fixed costs of the various household waste and recycling services provided by the States”.
Businesses in Scotland producing more than 5kg of food waste per week are now required to present the material separately for collection under changes to the law which came into effect in January 2018.
Until last Friday, only businesses producing 50kg or more of food waste per week were required to present the material separately, but the law change effectively means that the majority of businesses serving food in Scotland are likely to be affected.
The regulations are enforced by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). If companies do not meet the requirements of the law then SEPA can issue an on-the-spot £300 fine and repeat offenders could face up to £10,000 in penalties.
The previous threshold stood at 50kg, meaning that many more cafes, hotels, restaurants and retailers are poised to be caught up in the new legislation. If businesses don’t start recycling their food waste then the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency can hit them with an on-the-spot fine of £300, while repeat offenders face penalties of up to £10,000.
The change is also good news for the recycling industry, which is handling more food waste than ever before, helping to create green energy as well as reducing emissions from landfill.
Benefits to the business themselves are that they are improving their buying habits to reduce waste which in turn saves them money.
The survey by BusinessWaste.co.uk found that businesses were either “filling landfill sites” or “resorting to illegal activity” to dispose of rubbish, rather than recycling any of their waste. The 80 percent of companies had no green policy in place and did not separate recyclable waste from non-recyclable, with the survey finding that some will not even sort paper, food and glass waste.
The urgent need for a cleaner planet requires a fundamental shift in both domestic and business behaviours which seems to be finally taking place.