Recycling Charges

Recycling charges could increase fly tipping and traffic congestion, warn Greens - The introduction of waste recycling charges in Surrey and West Sussex has been slammed by Greens across the South East, fearing  charging will increase fly tipping and traffic congestion, and is unfair because of the postcode lottery approach.

From September 1st, householders in Surrey face charges starting at £4 for a bag of chargeable waste[1] or £5 for a tyre. There’s a free daily allowance of one bag. That means residents will need to make multiple trips to dispose of waste free of charge, adding to congestion and carbon emissions. A similar situation will apply from October 1st in West Sussex.


Opening hours have also been cut at many recycling centres across the South East, to save money, and ID checks introduced in many areas.


South East Green Party Chair Cllr Jonathan Essex said: “Recycling saves resources and creates jobs. It’s a false economy to cut down our recycling services and won’t give us the future we deserve. For every job in waste disposal, the same ton of waste creates 10 jobs in reuse and recycling.   Better recycling by councils is only half the story as we’re sending a lot of our waste abroad to be processed. The Government and Councils need to work together to create better resource management across the UK”.


Around the South East, county councils (which are responsible for waste disposal alongside unitary authorities) have taken varying approaches and residents are increasingly being restricted to centres in their local area by the use of identity checks. This means that residents will not be able to cross local authority boundaries to dispose of waste, even if they live nearer and it’s free. There is a variety of approaches across the region – other examples here:

  • West Sussex – introduction of charging from October 1st on similar basis to Surrey (for cost saving reasons).
  • Kent - household waste disposal is free but tyres are charged for.
  • East Sussex - recycling is free but limited by quantity.
  • Oxfordshire - complex system of charges for DIY waste although a limited quantity is free.
  • An ID check system is being introduced in West Berkshire after ID checks were introduced in Reading, Wokingham and Bracknell following a shake-up of funding agreements
  • Hampshire – shorter opening hours for recycling centres come in on September 1st and  cross border charging starts next year
  • Isle of Wight – improved kerbside recycling earlier this year and recycling centre use is free
  • Buckinghamshire – no charges and long opening hours

[1] Chargeable waste in Surrey is waste arising from construction, alteration or repair of your home and garden such as plasterboard, breeze blocks, bricks, rubble, soil, stones, turf, ceramic bathroom fittings, tiles.

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