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Non-household waste charges at re3 recycling centres

01 Feb 2017 10:45

re3 introduced a charging system for some types of non-household waste at the end of September 2016. Though the legal capacity to introduce such charges has existed for several years, the decision was finally taken by re3 at a time when many Council budgets are facing severe challenges and where there is a real need to make essential savings in waste management to support other core services.  Since their introduction, the new arrangements at re3 recycling centres have worked well. The re3 Councils would like to thank residents for their support and understanding of why these charges, and the other changes brought in during 2016, were needed.

 

re3 would also like to address some recently expressed concerns on the charging system and its legality. It is clear that there is some confusion around the terminology used. DIY is a commonly used and understandable term, but it has no legal standing when applied to waste management.

 

The relevant legislation classifies certain types of waste as falling outside the legal definition of household waste. The 2016 service changes at recycling centres by re3 are applied to those types of waste.

 

Waste such as rubble is deemed to be “non-household” regardless of whether it is from the property or home of a resident. Another way of looking at it is to consider that non-household waste is the types of waste that would normally form the fabric of a property, and thus would not be taken with the owner when moving house. re3 chargeable items – soil and rubble, asbestos, plasterboard - fall under this category. 

 

Government departments have recently released statements on this issue. The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed in the House of Commons that “local authorities can charge for the deposit of ‘non-household’ waste”. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has also confirmed in correspondence that “local authorities can of course charge for disposal of non-household waste such as car tyres and construction and demolition waste”. The use of the phrase “construction and demolition waste” is a direct reference to the legislation. The definition of construction states that it includes “improvement, repair or alteration”. We know that some visitors to the recycling centres improve, repair or alter their homes and gardens, and bring us the resulting non-household waste.

 

Finally, it is helpful to consider some operational guidance from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) on charging. Although not formal legal advice, WRAP advises that “materials for which charges can be levied” include the waste types for which re3 charges: inert material such as rubble and concrete, bricks and roof tiles; plasterboard; soil and any other building materials. It is also worth noting that in looking at this carefully and seeking to be balanced, re3 has not introduced charges for the entire list of materials (such as doors, windows, fitted kitchens, fitted wardrobes) that WRAP identifies.

 

The charging system applies to a small range of materials only, is non-profit making, has been calculated to cover the cost of disposal and is part of an efficiency and savings programme introduced to protect council tax payers from unnecessary waste management costs.

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