In England we are seriously lacking in our efforts to recycle our waste. After all, it's so cheap to just dump it.
This is something that is being looked at at the moment by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Brown.
Currently it costs £13 in tax to bury a tonne of waste in a landfill site, although this is set to rise to £14 next year. Okay, I can understand that, I mean, things are always getting steadily more expensive, one of the joys of inflation.
Thing is, though, this isn't enough apparently. It seems that public finances are falling short by around £7bn, so the money has to come from somewhere. Again, this I can understand. I mean if this is the sort of money needed to provide a good service, then fair dues. But seeing as the £1 per tonne raise next year isn't enough they're currently looking to raise the tax to between £30 and £40 per tonne, that's a raise of, er... around 100%. 100%? Seems a bit steep, but if it means we keep this high standard of public services we have, then fine.
Unfortunatley, that's not all. Other plans are to hit closer to home and the wallet of the individual. More than the sharp raise we can expect in our Council Tax anyway, and let's face it the Council Tax at the moment is often seen as being too much. Other plans in the offing are to charge 10p per plastic carrier bag from shops. Still, we all know that they take a few years to decompose and really we should be having paper bags by now. So, an effort on our behalf to help isn't too bad is it?
But, there's more. Another plan is to charge £1 per bag of household rubbish if you have more than two bags come bin day.
Hang on now, let me see if I get this right... a part of our Council Tax is paid to run the rubbish collection service. So, the local councils will be hit with a huge raise in their landfill tax, so that will be passed on to us in a raise in the Council Tax, then we end up paying a second time to have rubbish collected from our houses if we produce more than, let's face it, a small amount. So higher taxes and additional charges. This isn't starting to seem so good.
It seems that the thinking behind all this is to make us all recycle. Okay, a good purpose. Thing is, recycling in this country isn't very easy or pleasant. Some councils are trying though.
Peterborough City Council have a separate recycle collection service. Anything that is to be recycled gets collected separately from the normal rubbish, from your door. You just leave it out like you would your normal bin bags. Unfortunately that's a too rare example. Most of the time you have to drive your recyclable rubbish to a recycle point, usually at a local shopping centre, almost always covered in broken glass and grafitti and surounded by dodgy looking blokes with foul smelling drink in paperbag-wrapped bottles. And they're the nicer ones.
A few weeks ago I was clearing out the attic at my parents house and ended up with a lot of empty wine bottles from when my dad used to make homebrew. It took two car journeys to take them all to the bottle bank, and then a third journey to the garage to have the punctures in the tyres repaired.
So, not only do you have to make an excerted effort to recylce anything, but you often end up paying more than it's worth.
This is probably why Fly-Tipping is so prevalant. Just driving somewhere quiet, or to some waste ground, and dumping your rubbish. A patch of waste ground directly opposite my house is a haven for broken sofas, smashed bottles, dumped fridges. Deities alone know how bad it will get when these new charges to dispose of waste come in.
I'm all for recycling and make a concerted effort to, but a 100% increase in the charge for a seriously failing service is not going to go down well with even the most ecologically minded citizen.
But is that the way our economy is going? That a 100% increase in the charge by our government for a dilapidated and inefficient service is expected to be swallowed without comment? If that is the case, and they do expect that of us, then they have a cheek complaining about the 40% requested by the fireservice for a service that is, without doubt, excellent, efficient and dedicated. Rather than find fault I personally think they should find praise, and a succesful business model.