Friday, 26 August 2011

A terrible waste

Back in April, BBC News featured this story:

Oxford gardeners will soon have to pay to have their green waste recycled, with the council blaming government cuts for the decision.

The current scheme where green hessian sacks are emptied by the city council will be replaced by a chargeable service from 3 May.

Residents wishing to recycle will have to opt for a brown wheelie bin or purchase eco refuse sacks.

Councillor John Tanner said: "The new scheme is entirely voluntary."

He added "We hope people will continue to recycle."

Subscribing to the wheelie bin service will cost £35 per year. The eco sacks will be sold in packs of 10 for £25 and 20 for £35.

Mr Tanner, who is a board member for Cleaner, Greener Oxford, said: "The government cuts have forced us to introduce a paid-for garden waste service.


So this previously free service is now going to cost £35/year, but it's "entirely voluntary". Presumably I can burn my garden waste, leave it to rot in a heap, put it in ordinary black bin bags along with the food waste (verboten, of course), or ferry it to the tip myself. Nice.

The whole thing is reminiscent of another BBC story that came out on the 1st of April (sadly not a joke) about Somerset County Council charging people to use the tip.

Just think about all of the pointless activities they could have cut, rather than charging residents extra for a basic service. But their aim isn't to cushion local taxpayers from the impact of central government funding reductions. They have no desire to reconsider which of their functions are truly essential, how many people are required to deliver them, and what these people need to be paid. On the contrary, they want to make the cuts as painful as possible: "government cuts have forced us".

To top it all off, Oxford Council (having given away bins to people on various forms of benefit) now don't have enough of the brown bins to meet demand. We were told a couple of weeks ago that we'd have to wait until September. Can you imagine what would happen to a business that behaved this way?

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