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EDITIONS
Sunday, 10 November, 2002, 16:34 GMT
Ministers consider new bin charges
Landfill site
Rubbish is becoming a mounting problem
Householders could face direct charges to get their bins emptied, with the biggest rubbish producers made to pay the most, the government has confirmed.

Environment Minister Michael Meacher said the government was considering the idea.

He told BBC One's On The Record that new schemes were needed to cut the mountains of rubbish produced every year.

The Treasury has tried to play down reports that Chancellor Gordon Brown might more than double the tax on rubbish in his Pre-Budget Statement later this month.

Environmental campaigners argue that increasing landfill taxes is one way of encouraging more recycling.

Spreading the burden

Mr Meacher said people were already paying for waste collection as part of their council tax.

"The problem with that is we're all paying the same amount," he said.

"So, if you generate a very little level of waste, say 20lbs worth in weight or something like that...

Rubbish dumped in landfills
UK: 78%
France: 49%
Holland: 12%

"Someone else generates 200 lbs worth in weight, both pay the same amount, even though it costs 10 times more to dispose of one compared to the other.

"The rationale for the proposal, which we're certainly looking at, is that people should pay in some way related to the waste that they generate."

The UK produces 30m tonnes of household rubbish every year, 78% of which is dumped in landfill sites.

Recycling levels
England and Wales: 11%
Scotland: 4%
Holland: 47%
UK target: 33%
That compares with the 49% put in landfill sites in France and the 12% achieved in Holland.

Mr Meacher said 3-4% rises in the amount of rubbish every year would see refuse doubling over 20 years.

"That is simply not sustainable, we have got to change direction," he said.

Recycling targets

Mr Meacher suggested financial incentives might be one way of encouraging more recycling, along with new ways of allowing people to recycle waste.

In England and Wales 11% of waste is recycled, compared to 47% in Holland and 4% in Scotland.

The government aims to increase the UK levels to 33% by 2015.

Earlier this year, Mr Meacher suggested the UK could follow the Irish example and put a 10p tax on plastic bags.

Some supermarkets are beginning to offer biodegradable carrier bags to their shoppers.

See also:

23 Oct 02 | Politics
21 Oct 02 | Business
04 Mar 02 | Europe
04 Mar 02 | Europe
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