Are householders legally required to recycle?

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JohnP1950
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 6:17 pm
Location: Coventry

Are householders legally required to recycle?

Post by JohnP1950 »

This is a question related to garden law. I'll explain the background shortly, but for the moment can anyone just tell me whether I might get prosecuted or fined for putting recyclable waste in with my non-recyclable rubbish. (To put my question in context, I have until now always recycled as much as I can.) Thanks.
despair
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Re: Are householders legally required to recycle?

Post by despair »

I know some councils certainly send out really nasty threatening letters if you put green waste in the wrong bin

Whether they actually have taken anyone to court I don't know
kipper
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Re: Are householders legally required to recycle?

Post by kipper »

Not as in putting paper or glass, etc. into your normal refuse bin. Garden waste that can be composted is a different matter, as it can cause build up of methane in landfill, but i'm not sure it's a case of fining a resident but usually a refusal to collect the bin.
JohnP1950
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Location: Coventry

Re: Are householders legally required to recycle?

Post by JohnP1950 »

Hi, thanks for the replies. Here is the background info I promised:

At present we have one green waste wheelie bin, and general household rubbish is collected in black bin bags.

I don't need the green waste bin because I don't have a garden; and because of that I don't actually have the space to keep the bin. Unfortunately, the council jobsworths won't take it back. They also say that because it is council property I would be prosecuted if I destroyed it or otherwise disposed of it.

All pretty stupid you might think, but now the idiots tell me they plan to issue me with three more wheelie bins: one for non-recyclable waste and two for different classes of recyclable waste. I just don't have space to keep all these bins! At a push I can accommodate the general waste bin by my back door, but there isn't physically space for the other three anywhere outside my house. Do they expect me to keep them in my kitchen?

If they won't take them back (and they have already told me they won't take the green waste bin) the only option I have is to dispose of the bins myself. But that then leaves me with the problem of recyclables. They will have to go in with the non-recyclables - hence my original question.

I really don't know what to do. Destroying the bins would be criminal damage of council property. Taking them back to the council depot myself would, they say, be fly tipping. Honestly it's like talking to a petty third-world official each time I phone them up.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
COGGY
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Re: Are householders legally required to recycle?

Post by COGGY »

If you email the Council now, stating that you do not wish to have these bins, then they should not deliver them to you. That is what happens with our Council. An elderly friend had no means of putting any bin out and was permitted to use black bin bags. If they insist on delivering it could it be left on the pavement? I appreciate you would not wish to do this, but you could use it as a threat.
kipper
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Re: Are householders legally required to recycle?

Post by kipper »

Speak to your local councillor and/or try to speak to the head of the department. I don't know where they get these ideas - the amount of bins some councils expect properties to accommodate is unreasonable. Thankfully my council seem to have got it about right.
Hugh Jaleak
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Re: Are householders legally required to recycle?

Post by Hugh Jaleak »

If you cant get anywhere with the council then try the local press. An article in the local paper with a suitable photo may just embarass the council enough to get them see some sense..... My street is Victorian Terraces, although we have access around the back via a lane that runs down the back of the properties, the council decided it would be impractical for us to drag wheeled bins out to the street, so issued us with blue and clear sacks, blue for refuse/clear for recycling.

Why a national policy cannot be decided for refuse/recycling collection I do not know, it is down to the individual council to choose a suitable system and it varies so much between areas. The 'blanket issue' of wheeled bins to every property regardless of space and/or suitability is ridiculous.... Simple answer (to me) is wheeled bins where suitable, for terraced streets, homes with steps, flats etc, then retain a 'sack' method of collection where practical, or provide communal bins.

At the moment I do not believe that anyone can be forced to recycle, but there has been talk of a 'Pay as you throw' system where households are billed individually according to the amount (of weight) in the bin. Which is fine until the neighbours start chucking their rubbish in someone elses bin to avoid paying...... :roll:
mugwump
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Re: Are householders legally required to recycle?

Post by mugwump »

Hugh Jaleak wrote: At the moment I do not believe that anyone can be forced to recycle, but there has been talk of a 'Pay as you throw' system where households are billed individually according to the amount (of weight) in the bin. Which is fine until the neighbours start chucking their rubbish in someone elses bin to avoid paying...... :roll:
And the increase in fly tipping that will occur.
appledore
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Re: Are householders legally required to recycle?

Post by appledore »

We have three bins and we're lucky that we have somewhere to store them out if sight. A lot of people don't have room and some streets look an absolute eyesore.

We have to leave our bins quite a distance from the house for them to be emptied, and our neighbour sneaks rubbish into our bin whenever he gets the chance.

As mugwump says there will be an increase in fly tipping.
Keep calm and carry on.
JohnP1950
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Location: Coventry

Re: Are householders legally required to recycle?

Post by JohnP1950 »

Thank you all for advice. The local newspaper isn't interested, but I thought I might write to our local MP.

I have tried writing to the council before about bins and on other issues as well, but they just don't bother replying. I have been told it is policy that all enquiries are dealt with on the phone or in person at the council Info Shop - they have opened a dedicated enquiry office in the High Street to field all questions and complaints. There is usually a long queue.

The problem is I am not sure whether the council are giving me a true account of the law on this: I suspect it is mostly bull**** that the Info Shop assistants have been trained to excrete in order to frighten council tax payers into compliance.

As I understand the situation at the moment, It seems that the only option I have is to somehow get rid of the recycling bins (but I still I don't know what I am allowed to do with them), and then to take all my recyclable waste to the tip myself - which would involve an eco-friendly eleven mile round trip every week.

I have spent hours on Google trying to find where I really stand under the law, but I have had no success. So I would be very grateful if anyone could clarify these specific points:

1. Is the council jobsworth right when she says I am legally obliged to recycle and that I might be fined if they discover recylable material in the non-recyclable bin?

2. Do the bins remain the council's property or are they mine to do as I want with? If the former, surely I can't be forced to keep them on my land - or, more accurately, in my house (as two of them are now standing in my hall because I have no space outside other than on the footpath).
mugwump
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Re: Are householders legally required to recycle?

Post by mugwump »

I believe that the COUNCILS are legally required to recycle a certain percentage of thier collected waste but that does not devolve down to the householder.

Businesses also have a duty to recycle where possible
COGGY
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Re: Are householders legally required to recycle?

Post by COGGY »

Have you gone on the Council's website for recycling and requested that they do not issue you with these bins as you do not have room to store them? That is the best way forward. Wheelie bins remain the property of the Council and you cannot legally dispose of them.
kipper
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Re: Are householders legally required to recycle?

Post by kipper »

1. This may be dependent upon which council it is. This information should be available on their website. Recyclable waste to could be taken direct to recycling points, so there would be no actual need to have a recycling bin.
2. The bins remain the property of the council.

I would follow the complaints procedure which should be detailed on the council website, this usually involves contacting a superior first about the issue. There is no reason for you to have to accommodate a green waste bin if you have no garden.
Hugh Jaleak
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Location: Northamptonshire

Re: Are householders legally required to recycle?

Post by Hugh Jaleak »

I believe the 'legal requirement' is an EU directive putting limits on how mmuch waste may go to landfill, with hefty fines for any Council who exceeds their quota. There is also the issue of Landfill tax, so for every tonne recycled and not sent to landfill the Council saves money. Businesses who meet certain criteria must register with the Environment Agency and provide information about how they intend to deal with their waste.

Council's seem be hell bent on making it as difficult as possible for householders to get rid of their refuse, my view has always been if someone wants to get rid of it then they will, the Council ends up footing the bill whether it is collected as part of a normal refuse collection service or cleared as flytipping. Providing a sensible house to house refuse collection service has to be superior (and cheaper) than clearing rubbish from layby's, gateways, ditches etc.....
jonahinoz
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Re: Are householders legally required to recycle?

Post by jonahinoz »

Hi,

<<<the 'legal requirement' is an EU directive putting limits on how mmuch waste may go to landfill>>>
Everything we eat, wear, drive, use, own, originates from under the surface of the planet. Would anybody like to predict the end result if we are not allowed to put it back?

<<<Which is fine until the neighbours start chucking their rubbish in someone elses bin to avoid paying...... >>>
The Dog Warden told a neighbour to pick up his dog's zorst, and drop it into a wheelie bin .... ANY wheelie bin

<<<Garden waste that can be composted is a different matter, as it can cause build up of methane in landfill>>>
What's the difference between methane generated in a landfill, and methane generated in my garden?

<<<Why a national policy cannot be decided for refuse/recycling collection I do not know>>>
We have two wheelie bins, and several boxes. The next village, same Council, can drop everything into one wheelie bin. Who decides who gets how many bins?

<<<Council's seem be hell bent on making it as difficult as possible >>>
There is a saying ... "Most men can endure adversity. It's when you give a man authority that you learn his true character".

JW
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