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Recycling

Volume 455: debated on Friday 26 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research has been (a) conducted and (b) commissioned by his Department into the effect on pensioners of the introduction of a municipal tax on household rubbish to incentivise segregation, minimisation and recycling. (115904)

Householders already contribute to waste service provision through council tax.

No specific research has been conducted on the impact of financial incentives such as recycling rebates on pensioners. DEFRA has commissioned an independent research project examining the international evidence on incentive schemes and the potential impact of incentives in England, including their distributional impact.

England’s Waste Strategy is currently being reviewed and DEFRA is considering the full range of measures that could encourage producers and consumers to change their behaviour regarding waste and recycling in general. Most existing incentive schemes reward those householders that produce less residual waste after recycling. By minimising waste and recycling or home composting as much as possible, householders can help to keep down waste costs and, therefore, help reduce pressures on council tax bills. Pensioners tend to produce less waste than the average household, so would be likely to gain from any incentive scheme. Any new initiatives on waste would of course need to take into account the impact on different groups, including the vulnerable and those on low incomes, as part of a Regulatory Impact Assessment.