LONDON (Reuters) - Household bins would be fitted with microchips to calculate how much residents pay for their waste based on its weight, under a proposed scheme announced on Wednesday.
The Local Government Association (LGA) also proposed a “sack system” where households could buy different sized pre-paid sacks and floated the idea of allowing residents to choose the size of their bin so they could be charged accordingly.
The three schemes came as an LGA survey of 1,028 people found that almost two-thirds supported being charged under the “pay as you throw” system in return for council tax rebates.
Only one in five was strongly against any change to waste collection.
Officials denied the proposals were a “stealth tax”, insisting they encouraged recycling and less waste.
“If councils introduce save-as-you-throw schemes, it will be to promote recycling, not to generate extra cash through an extra stealth tax,” the chairman of the LGA’s s Environment Board, Councillor Paul Bettison, said in a statement.
But the TaxPayers’ Alliance lobby group had its reservations.
“People may be prepared to accept variable charging as an issue of fairness, but cuts in council tax would have to be in the order of 20 pounds a month to justify charging,” it said in a statement.
“No current proposals from the government guarantee that council tax will be reduced at that level to compensate.
The LGA proposals come in the wake of controversial government proposals to collect household waste once a fortnight instead of weekly.
Bettison warned that local authorities were facing EU fines of up to 3 billion pounds if landfill were not dramatically reduced.
For too long many people had discarded their rubbish without worrying about the consequences. “Those days are over,” he added.
“There is now strong public support for schemes that reward people for recycling, and councils should be given the power to introduce these where it is appropriate to do so.
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