steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

A Rubbish Policy

So, the Government is scrapping the so-called bin tax that would have charged people extra for costs of putting their waste in landfill. Instead, they're introducing a scheme that's been pioneered in the constituency of Windsor and Maidenhead, where customers who recycle a lot are given "reward points" that can be redeemed at shops.

In general I'm in favour of promoting carrots at the expense of sticks, but this idea strikes me as rather absurd - if the aim is to reduce waste, that is. Yes, of course people should recycle, but - well, for the sake of argument let's say that a household recycles a third of its waste. Imagine that it then increases its overall consumption. The two thirds that it doesn't recycle will be increased by twice as much as the third it does recycle - but because it's recycling more it will be rewarded rather than penalized, despite sending more to landfill than it did before. And, to cap it all, it will be rewarded in the form of vouchers that it can spend to increase its consumption still further!

I can see why Windsor and Maidenhead didn't want to come down heavy on big consumers - after all, that council happens to have Eton College and the Queen amongst its council tax payers. But as a policy to get the British to consume less overall, this makes no sense. Perhaps the coming lean kine years will do the trick?

(Incidentally, I will scream if I hear another person say on Radio 4, as I did just now, that it's time we paid the bill for the years of self-indulgence and largess that we enjoyed for the last decade, where "we all took it for granted" that we'd have a couple of foreign holidays a year, and go out to restaurants a few times a week, etc etc. Maybe this was true of the people they interview on Radio 4, but it wasn't true for some of us!)
Tags: current affairs
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