Tip or skip? County Council urges DIYers to make waste part of their project plan

16 February 2018

Keen DIYers are being urged to make sure they plan how they will get rid of their old kitchen, shed, bathroom or fence when organising their next project.

For many years people have been able to take along a very small amount of DIY waste - which is classed as construction and demolition waste, not household waste - to their nearest household waste recycling centre and leave it for free.  For larger amounts of DIY waste people have a range of options to choose from, including hiring a skip, employing a licenced waste carrier or using the county council’s ‘pay as you throw’ service.

Following a decision by full council, on Monday 12 February, the County Council will be extending charges from April 1 to all DIY waste by removing the concession which had seen people allowed to take one large item or up to 80 litres of waste for no charge to their local household waste recycling centre.  This includes materials such as rubble, plasterboard and flat glass and items such as fence panels, doors, fitted units and bathroom suites - basically fixtures and fittings to a house.

The removal of the one item/80 litre concession is expected to save the authority approximately £280,000 a year.  The charges will be kept small and it is not anticipated that these charges will bring in any money.  The fees will simply help to offset the cost of waste disposal from household waste recycling centres which totalled £7.5m last year.

Martin Wilby, chairman of the Environment, Development and Transport Committee, said:  “We’re proud of our network of 20 recycling centres which surveys consistently tell us that people are satisfied with.  However our services need to reduce their costs and we prefer to save money by changing our policies rather than by reducing opening hours or closing a recycling centre.  Removing the free DIY concession will help us to do this.

“Our recycling centre staff will be on hand to assist people to dispose of their waste properly.  And I would suggest to people that it’s well worth checking our website before you head to the recycling centre so you have all the latest information to help you plan your trip.

“We have made this decision as we are not legally required to take people’s DIY waste.  I would urge people to make sure they are factoring in the cost of disposing of waste when they are spending on their latest DIY project.

“We know that there has been a lot of confusion around the concession over the years and it has been very tricky for site staff to administer so it is hoped that the new clearer system will help remove this confusion that has existed.

“I must stress that this change will only affect DIY waste.  Our recycling centres will still take all household waste for free which includes furniture, sofas, white goods and other electrical items, and garden waste."

Over the coming weeks Norfolk County Council will be working to help make sure people are aware of the change before it comes in on 1 April.

Relevant legislation

Under current government legislation DIY waste is classed as ‘construction and demolition’ waste and falls under the category of ‘industrial’ waste.  By law, councils do not have to accept industrial waste at their recycling centres.  We can’t charge for waste classified as household waste however we don’t have to provide a free service for materials that are not household waste.  DIY waste from construction and demolition type activities falls into that category and other County Councils have already implemented policies based on that distinction.

This is based on the relevant legislation: 

  • The Environmental Protection Act 1990, Part 2, section 51 requires the County Council to provide residents with sites for the disposal of household waste
  • The Local Authority Charging Order 2015 prohibits charging residents for the disposal of household waste or for entering or exiting recycling centres
  • Controlled Waste Regulations 2012, Schedule 1, Part 3 classes construction and demolition waste (or DIY waste, as we refer to it) as industrial waste, and not household waste, and therefore we can make a charge for it.

What is DIY waste?

DIY construction and demolition waste that will be charged for from April 1 2018:

  • Timber - including kitchen units, fitted furniture, doors, laminate flooring and floorboards, sheds, fence panels, decking, garden structures
  • Rubble - including sinks, toilets, bricks, concrete, stones, tiles
  • Flat glass - including glass from windows and doors, greenhouses, shower screens
  • Plasterboard - all plasterboard and plaster
  • General waste - including roofing felt, plastic guttering, fibreglass insulation. 

Illegal dumping of waste

Fly-tipping, the illegal dumping of waste, is a crime that should be reported to your local district, city or borough council.  Both businesses and householders have a legal duty to dispose of their waste correctly.  Evidence from previous changes to our recycling centre service, such as making sites part time, has not shown an increase in illegal dumping of waste.

The majority of fly-tipping is of items that would have been accepted free of charge at our recycling centres such as sofas, white goods and other electrical items and garden waste.  This waste will continue to be accepted for free.  Fly-tipping can also be waste deposited by rogue waste operators who charge people for waste disposal but won’t pay to use the commercial waste sites that they are supposed to use.

Norfolk data from incidents on public land shows that only around 4.1% of incidents of illegally dumped waste relate to construction or demolition waste such as rubble.

Pay as You Throw - price guide from 1 April 2018

Cost per item or per 80 litre bag or equivalent

  • Rubble - £3
  • Timber - £3
  • Flat glass - £5
  • Plasterboard * - £9 (£15 at Mile Cross Recycling Centre)
  • General waste - £5
  • Tyres*  - £4 per tyre
  • Metals - free

* only available at main plus sites

For more information visit: www.norfolk.gov.uk/diywaste

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