Trash - the new gold
With the cost of raw materials on the rise trash is no longer a throwaway matter. At first the cost of recycling for many councils was greater than just sending to landfill, the argument for recycling being more about environmental concerns rather than making money but all that is changing. The demand for raw materials, particularly metals, now sees those councils that set themselves up as getting a share of any recycled profits starting to bring in the cash and able to use this to offset local taxes such as the UK local councul tax.
The pure and just environmental arguments were never going to be enough for some residents to encourage them to recycle effectively but the possibility of lower taxes might just push them into becoming more skilled rather than the threat of fines for putting things in the 'wrong bin' as some councils have introduced - the Trash Police becoming a reality in many areas and seen as overtly and over Big Brotherish.
As the world hots up and the demand for metal and other raw materials in fast developing economies increases trash may well indeed be the new gold.
Dented bean tins and crumpled drink cans may be rubbish to most of us, but to the recycling teams who collect them from the kerbside they have the glint of prospector's gold.
For people living in areas that have recognised the value of waste, the effort made to recycle can reduce council tax bills. Residents of Westminster have benefited from the seven-year deal in which the council ensured it received a share of recycling profits. The authority was able to claim back a portion of the income derived when the price of materials rose. Mark Banks, waste strategy manager at Westminster, said: “We are trying to get a balance between trying to keep council tax low and trying to avoid the high cost of landfill.”