February 3rd, 2017

Down on recycling: England’s recycling rate

by Peter Jones

 

The recent downtick in England’s household recycling rate has led to wailing and gnashing of teeth in some quarters, and something more like gloating in others. However, there has been little examination of what the numbers tell us about what underlies the change, and thus the appropriate policy responses.

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January 6th, 2017

What’s behind the rise in three-weekly rubbish collections?

by Peter Jones

 

Three-weekly residual waste collections are on the rise, but remain highly controversial. Their introduction has been heralded by stories of over-spilling bins, growing populations of rats, and people buying “top-up” collections from opportunist private bin companies – in fact, all of the same ill-founded fears that were raised about fortnightly collections.

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October 28th, 2016

Are councils driving waste on the road to nowhere?

by Neil Grundon

 

In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher took a scythe to a bloated and unproductive public sector with the introduction of ‘Compulsory Competitive Tendering’ (CCT). Like most things Thatcher did, it was divisive but effective, and eventually undone by its dogmatic application to everything. For Grundon, it opened up a huge opportunity, although not quite in the way we originally planned.

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October 14th, 2016

Rejected hypotheses: analysing England’s recycling data

by Peter Jones and Andy Grant

 

Is the increase in recycling rejects in England due to an increase in the amount of contamination in recycling bins, caused by growing confusion amongst the public? Last month we identified a couple of other possibilities that would also explain the 184,000 tonne rise: better data capture, or better sorting at materials recycling facilities (MRFs). However, we didn’t attempt to assess which is the most plausible. In this article, we begin that tricky task.

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September 30th, 2016

What’s VAT got to do with the price of bins?

by Peter Jones

 

Should local authorities have to charge VAT on their commercial waste services? Not according to Mr Justice Warren of the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber), who this month declined to overturn HMRC’s 2011 decision that such services were VAT exempt.

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September 9th, 2016

Can we sort out the contamination confusion?

by Peter Jones and Andy Grant

 

The latest flurry of disparagement around the 2014/15 stats on local authority recycling rejects provides an unfortunate reminder that this is a confusing topic. Indeed, it seems it is easy to misunderstand even if, like the Daily Mail and Daily Express, you’ve had it explained to you at length.

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August 5th, 2016

Parking restrictions? Undervaluing green space in the UK

by Ayesha Bapasola

 

It’s rare that a parish council decision causes an outcry that permeates the upper echelons of Westminster. However, Stoke Gifford Parish council in South Gloucestershire hit the headlines when it voted to charge Parkrun for the use of Little Stoke Park early this spring. The council has stuck to its guns, though, and continues to do so, even after securing £750,000 to upgrade facilities at the park and ‘increase sports participation for the local community’.

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