Council announces ‘modest charge’ for replacement bins

Kingston Council has announced that it will introduce an £18 fee for new waste and recycling containers as providing them for free is no longer economically sustainable.  

The fee, which will be introduced in May 2024, will apply to all new waste and recycling containers while indoor and outdoor food caddies will continue to be free of charge.

As the charge only covers administrative costs, any new bins will remain the property of the council. 

In a press release, the council said that this action will alleviate financial pressure and that it hopes it will encourage residents to “increase the lifespan of the bins” to reduce “unnecessary replacements”. 

Faced with rising council tax amid a cost-of-living crisis, the new fee adds more pressure to an already strained budget for some residents.  

According to Councillor Yvonne Tracey, the £18 fee is money that some simply do not have. 

“Given that we pay one of the highest council taxes in England, I don’t think it’s right that we should be charging them to replace bins,” she said during a council meeting in February.  

However, residents are not only concerned about the added financial pressure but the quality of the bins provided.  

Mr C, a local pensioner and resident for over 40 years, said: “A number of people I’ve spoken to feel that the fee is unjustified given the poor quality of the bins supplied. The fact is that council tax is rising so much, and the money is spent on barely used cycle lanes and the costs involved in implementing the recent borough-wide 20 mph speed limit.” 

Mr C said the containers lack quality and durability and a significant number of bins in the borough have splits and cracks. 

Hannah McAlpine, a 45-year-old resident, confirmed this observation. She said that the blue-lidded bins for cardboard waste all have the same fault and that they do not seem strong enough to withstand the force used to empty them. 

“I walk up and down the road on a school run and it’s very obvious that all the cardboard bins have been damaged in the same places…so it can’t be every single household that has mishandled their bins,” she said.  

In its announcement on Wednesday, the council said that it will only replace bins free of charge if they have been damaged or lost by a collection crew and only if residents have “clear evidence to support the claim”.  

But the question arises as to how the council will prove that the damage is due to the householder’s misuse rather than poor quality or actions of contractors. “How can this be proven without photographic or video evidence?” Mr C said.  

“I think it is unreasonable to require householders to pay the fee if the bins deteriorate through no fault of theirs.”  

When asked for comment, the council said: “With costs rising, demand for services increasing and very little funding from central government, the council have had to take some difficult decisions.” 

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Reporter for the Kingston Courier

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