Derby City Council

Council’s ‘Brown Bin tax’ scheme – a £1m failure!

The brown bin, garden waste, charging scheme, introduced in 2014/15, which was publicised as saving the Council £1m per year, is a sham.!

 

It was based on flawed assumptions, was  poorly implemented….and is, potentially, costing the City more than it saves. Yet the Council still publicises it as a £1m pa success!

Background

The original scheme was an all year round brown bin collection for all households. This waste, because it was segregated in one bin, was disposed of at a cost of ~£50/tonne to the Council.

The new scheme charges households £40 pa for the 1st brown bin, and £20 pa for the 2nd bin. Collections are 32 weeks in the year.

The assumption was that 20,000 households (just under one-quarter of Derby) would sign up to the scheme. (FLAW 1)

Prior to the scheme, 20,000 tonnes of garden/food waste was collected in the brown bins, costing £50/tonne to dispose of.

It was assumed that the 20,000 households, who signed up for a brown bin, would account for  7,200 tonnes of waste ( of the 20,000)

It was assumed that only 7,160 tonnes of garden waste would now be put in to the black bin, by those who were not signing up to the scheme. Black bin waste is disposed of at a cost of ~£100/tonne to the Council. (FLAW 2)

By implication, the Council assumed that the remaining 5,640 tonnes would be disposed of through the use of new composters….at zero cost to the Council. This represents about 28,000 households (just under one-third of Derby) who, it was assumed,  would start home composting rather than pay for a brown bin, go to Raynesway tip , or dispose of in a black bin. (FLAW 3)

What actually happened…?

12083 households signed up for the scheme in 2016/17 (not 20,000) – a £400,000 loss in income.

5275 tonnes of garden waste was disposed of in a brown bin/taken to tip ( vs planned 5,200)

2000 tonnes of food waste placed in black bin @ £100/tonne vs £50/tonne.

The Council confirmed (Freedom of Information) that no home composters were supplied to support the scheme, and there is no information held which confirms  how many people are now home composting.

What does it mean…?

The scheme hinged on the assumption that one-third of Derby’s households would now be home-composting thus avoiding any cost to the Council. The reality is, most likely, although no data actually exists, that the vast majority of people not in the scheme are using the black bin at a cost of £100 per tonne to the Council. There is no evidence of a wide-scale upsurge in home-composting.

The net effect of this is that there is a cost to the Council related, solely,  to the Brown bin scheme…not a £1m saving.

If the Council had just implemented a reduction in the number of collection weeks from 52  to 32, with all households still having a brown bin….there would have been  a guaranteed £300k pa saving.  Perhaps this was too easy…or is there another agenda?

POSTSCRIPT

When the Council states that it had to cut services by £135m since 2010, £1m of this is for the Brown Bin Scheme – reinforcing the assertion that the £135m is a “planning” number, not all related to forced cuts to services, and not based on actual savings!

No doubt the Council will continue to publicise this “empty success” – regardless of there being no facts to substantiate it!

Categories: Derby City Council

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14 replies »

  1. I sense the irony of this is lost on the ‘journalist’.
    There being ‘no evidence’ for a conclusion and even more, only looking at costs without exploring the savings… That would make every investment negative.
    Spend ten pound and to save £100 in bin collecting labor is not a 10 pound loss.
    Obviously not just the council that do half a job,
    let me know when it’s finished.

    • I don’t think you understand business cases….I have presented the Council’s case, and the final outcome. Would you like to clarify on the gaps or are you just being mysterious in your superiority?

  2. What’s the financial hit to the council?
    What is the total spend and what are the savings for the reduced bin collections?
    You just say there are no facts but that doesn’t stop you from saying what has happened.
    I say this because I have started composting as have my neighbours on either side but you dismiss it as our facilitys have not been provided by the council (a saving to the council no less)

      • How many people?
        You have no figures of people composting
        You have no figures of total cost of alternative disposal.
        You have no figures of savings in relation to reduced labor.
        As you use the lack of evidence against the council but use it yourself, that is the irony.
        Again if you get access to these I’ll re-read but your conclusion reads as spite not fact.

  3. 5275 tonnes of garden waste was disposed of in a brown bin/taken to tip ( vs planned 5,200)

    The council was a massive 1.44% out, why was this line without multiple exclamation marks?!<>.

    They should be hung for such a massive mistake!

    You also give no data for your conclusions. <>

  4. What does it mean…?

    The scheme hinged on the assumption that one-third of Derby’s households would now be home-composting thus avoiding any cost to the Council. The reality is, most likely, although no data actually exists, that the vast majority of people not in the scheme are using the black bin at a cost of £100 per tonne to the Council. There is no evidence of a wide-scale upsurge in home-composting.

    The net effect of this is that there is a cost to the Council related, solely, to the Brown bin scheme…not a £1m saving.

    The part where you said “The reality is, most likely, although no data actually exists” literally says you have no data yet you extrapolate a “reality” from no data

    Please explain where the facts are in this conclusion. I’ve re-read as you suggested and there are no facts in your conclusion (as I originally commented)

      • The DCC didn’t write this article and the DCC didn’t accuse me of missing the point completely, you did.

        Please explain where the facts are in your conclusion.

  5. Argh FOI the gift that keeps on giving (To lazy journalists) surely it’s not about cost but encouraging people to dispose of /recycle waste in a responsible manner.

    • Except that this scheme encourages people to dispose of waste in the black bin which goes into landfill along with everything else – so it is actually counter to your point. This was pointed out by the environmentalists at the time. It has not achieved the environmental objective nor the publicised cost saving.

  6. How does a scheme providing a bin to dispose of garden waste encourage people to use a Black bin? I suppose there is data to substantiate your claim?

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