Council is spending more than £100,000 a year
Currently the council provides all new properties with the containers free of charge, but the cost of supplying them to between 750 and 900 new East Devon homes every year is escalating.
John Golding, Strategic Lead for Housing, Health & Environment, told councillors last night (Wednesday 3rd January) that around £112,000 a year is spent by the council on supplying containers each year.
He said: “We have to make some savings and we can charge, like other authorities to, for containers, and we estimate this will bring in £40,000 a year of additional income. We think now is the time to introduce these charges.”
The council’s recycling and waste partnership board recommended to the cabinet that developers are charged £80 for each set of recycling and waste containers which include a grey wheeled bin, a green box, green sack, food caddy and kitchen caddy.
Where a development has a communal waste collection service, the developer will be charged £300 for every communal bin supplied.
The proposals were unanimously agreed by the cabinet on Wednesday night.
They also agreed to charge householders if they have to replace their grey wheeled bins. Residents who lose or damage their waste bins will now be charged £30 for a replacement, although replacements will still be provided free if their bin is stolen, or damaged by the council’s contractors.
All recycling containers – a green box, green sack, food caddy and kitchen caddy – will continue to be replaced free of charge.
The charges come in to force from April 1, 2019 and be reviewed annually.
Recommending the changes, Cllr Tom Wright, the council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said: “We spend more than £120,000 per year on containers for recycling and waste, and have been supplying them free of charge to developers of new properties.
“As part of our Transformation Strategy to help us set a balanced budget, we need to start making some difficult decisions to reduce costs. Other utilities provided to new properties are charged for, and that is the logic we have applied to this decision.
“We want the developer of the new property to be responsible for the cost of supplying recycling and waste containers to new properties. We’ve also agreed to the principle of charging householders for replacement grey wheeled bins and have been careful not to recommend a charge for recycling containers.”
Cllr Wright added that he expected there would be no problem with trying to collect payment from developers as it would be written into the rules as a condition of planning permission, so they would have to pay it.
He also confirmed that the recycling containers would be replaced free of charge and that all the East Devon District Council recycling trucks have CCTV on them so there would be video evidence to establish if the contractors were responsible for damaging the grey waste bins or not.
A number of other authorities have already introduced similar charging for providing new recycling and waste containers to new properties and replacing bins, the cabinet was also told.
Cllr Wright also told the cabinet that recycling rates in East Devon were continuing to rise with latest figures showing that 60 per cent of waste was recycled.
He said that the council have been asked by the Secretary for State to share their best practice in improving recycling rates with other councils, and that a trade journal has named the council as an international green ambassador for the work they have done.
Cllr Graham Godbeer said that 60 per cent was a noble figure, but asked how it could be improved.
Cllr Wright said: “The difficulty is that we recycle all that we can currently recycle, although some residents still have difficulty of grasping the concept of recycling. The Government target is to recycle 50 per cent of waste by 2025, so we are way ahead of the target.
“One concern could be that if less products are produced that need to be recycled then the rates may drop, but then there will be less waste being produced, which is what we all want.”