For many homeowners, after mortgage payments, council tax can represent a significant chunk of overall household bills. Now a new report has proposed an initiative that could help to cut this cost, and help the planet too.
As part of it’s ‘tech in the town’ report think-tank the Social Market Foundation (SMF) suggests the roll out of ‘smart bins’ fitted with sensors that would be able to monitor how much each household is actually recycling. Those who recycle would then be rewarded with council tax cuts.
Technology that reports ‘bin-fill levels’ is already in use in UK councils including Rugby and Wandsworth, according to the analysis, and is currently used for street litter bins and in other public places. Bins are only emptied when sensors indicate they are full, representing cost savings for the boroughs concerned.
The SMF suggest that the use of technology similar to the above in the home could result in a number of benefits, including incentivising homeowners and tenants alike to recycle more.
The report also goes on to highlight the stark differences between recycling rates across the country, with the top and bottom local authorities by household recycling rate outlined below:
Top 5 local authorities, by household recycling rate:
1. East Riding of Yorkshire Council – 64.5 per cent
2. Rochford District Council – 63 per cent
3. South Oxfordshire District Council – 63 per cent
4. Three Rivers District Council – 62.4 per cent
5. Surrey Heath Borough Council – 61.4 per cent
Bottom 5 local authorities, by household recycling rate:
1. Newham – 14.1 per cent
2. Westminster City Council – 18.8 per cent
3. Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council – 19.6 per cent
4. Birmingham City Council – 20.7 per cent
5. Council of the Isles of Scilly – 21.2 per cent
Commenting Scott Corfe, Chief Economist at the SMF and author of the report, said:
‘Quite rightly, there is growing concern about the environment and the amount of waste produced by UK households. Local government needs to explore how new technologies – including smart bins – can dramatically drive up recycling rates and reduce waste.”
‘Critically, we need to ensure that all parts of the UK are doing their bit to reduce the amount of waste going into landfill. At the moment there are huge differences in recycling rates across the country, ranging from close to two thirds in East Riding of Yorkshire to a paltry 14% in the London Borough of Newham.’
‘To get households on board with the green agenda, it is important that carrots are used, as well as the occasional stick. A Council Tax rebate for households that do their bit for the environment, by not producing as much as waste, would be a good reward for doing the right thing.’
Would you want a smart bin in your street?