Blaby District Council introduced the UK’s first variable charging scheme for household waste in 2000. The scheme was designed to restrict householders to 140 litres of non recyclable waste per week, and gave householders the option to purchase additional capacity and waste services as and when required.
The intention was that by restricting the capacity of the residual waste bin, residents would realise how much waste they produce and therefore encourage householders to make full use of the opportunities available to reduce and recycle their waste. The philosophy behind the scheme was communicated to residents by distributing a DVD with a special edition council newspaper to all 37,500 households in the District. In addition to this a number of roadshows and promotional events were held to reinforce the message.
Blaby clearly believe that the scheme has been successful, as the amount of waste to landfill reduced by 3% within its first year of operation and the overall recycling rate has increased from 29.3% in 2004/05 to 37% in 2005/06.
This methodology is pretty much an exact fit with the ‘bin size scheme’ described in the draft ‘Guidance to Councils’ issued by DEFRA. What is most interesting is that Blaby have managed to implement a scheme some 8 years ahead of the Climate Change Bill which DEFRA have heralded as being a necessary piece of legislation to enable waste incentive schemes to be piloted.