Waste Management Charges Explained
Due to ever increasing budgetary pressures the Vale of Glamorgan Council has identified proposals for the introduction of a range of new waste management charges from April.
Under the proposals bulky item waste collections will no longer be available free of charge to all customers. Currently every authority in Wales, except the Isle of Anglesey, levy charges for bulky item collections, and whilst the Vale’s scheme will be different to most others, in that it will offer concessions for those who are less able to pay, charges are scheduled to be introduced from April 1st this year.
Concessions will apply for bulky collections for householders in receipt of Income Support, Housing Benefit, Pensions Credit or Council Tax Benefit. Income Support, Job Seeker Allowance (Income Based), Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) / P.I.P, State Pension or Guaranteed Pension Credits. Proof of benefit will be required at the time of booking / collection.
Bulky item collections will be charged at £15 for up to 3 items, with each additional item charged at £5, up to a maximum of 5 items. Residents will still be able to take bulky household items to either of the Council's two Household Waste Recycling Centres free of charge. Residents who are eligible for a concession will be able to receive two free collections of up to 6 items in any one year. In addition Council officers are liaising with various charities that may be willing to collect certain items for re-use free of charge, subject of course to the condition of the said items. Residents will be made available of all possible options when a service request for a collection is made.
Charges are also to be introduced to cover the costs of the provision of recycling boxes and caddies, similar to those currently in place for reusable green and blue bags. This will help to control the numbers of containers requested in future. Many residents will have noted the number of plastic recycling boxes that are now being used for a range of household and even commercial purposes, not connected in any way to our recycling arrangements.
Further, in an effort to both limit the amount of food wasted and to recover the costs of any bags being used for dog fouling; charges will be introduced for additional kitchen waste bags, over an appropriate free allocation per week. Residents who take part in the kerbside food waste recycling scheme will be issued with rolls of bags sufficient to contain the waste from 3 full kitchen caddies per week. Additional bags would be charged by the roll at a price equivalent to 4p per bag.
We understand that residents may be concerned at this new charge, though three bags are capable of holding 15 litres (up to 15 kg) of food waste. The kerbside caddies hold 23 litres. Recent Welsh Government Studies have indicated that the average family wastes £60 per month throwing away food. At up to £4.50 per 5 litre bag the value of any food discarded per bag is considerably more than the 4p charge levied; so in addition to providing some income for high use, the excess bag charge will help to remind residents of the amount of money they may be wasting in discarded food.
If residents are unable to afford the charge for additional food waste bags, which even if they required sufficient bags to allow 7 bags per week to be used would only cost 16p per week, they can line their caddy with newspaper as a free alternative.
The Council’s blue dog bags will now be charged at £1.00 for 50 (2p each) and this should help address the high demand, whilst also providing the necessary income to cover the costs of this service that is specific to dog owning residents. Over the years the Council has provided well over 1 million free dog fouling bags, initially in an attempt to influence the behaviour of certain dog owners.
Nowadays it is very much the norm to see dog walkers responsibly disposing of their dog waste; with the Council’s severe budget challenges now is therefore seen as an appropriate time to levy a charge for these bags. Also, when a decision is taken to own a dog, its responsible care is very much a matter for the owner and not for the Council or other Council tax payers who may not own a dog.
To help address incidences of higher than average use of the Council’s Household Waste Recycling facilities at Barry and Llandow £15 permits are to be introduced for vans and trailers using the sites. This is similar to the arrangements in place at many other Local Authorities and still provides excellent value for money when compared to other alternatives such as the hire of skips.
Some concern has been raised about the possibility of increased fly-tipping as a consequence of these new charges. Those who are unable to afford the new bulky waste collection charges, are protected, to a greater degree than any other welsh Council that charges for this service, by the large number of concessions available. There is no evidence that the current charges for re-useable green and blue recycling bags has deterred anybody from purchasing them, the latter even previously having a free alternative available; the recycling box. Therefore the new charges for boxes are unlikely to increase fly-tipping. It should also be noted that fly-tipping is a serious criminal offence and law abiding citizens are unlikely to commit such a crime due to the introduction of charges. We will however be increasing our enforcement activity after April as part of a range of measures aimed at reducing future street cleansing costs.
The Council has to find £32m of savings over the next 3 years due to reductions in the funding we receive from Welsh Government. In addition to this the Specific Waste Management Grant that the Council receives from Welsh Government specifically for its recycling services is decreasing year on year, and by over £200k in 2014/15. We estimate that these measures will save the Council almost £270,000 each year.