Northumberland residents will have to pay a charge for tipping old bathroom and kitchen fittings like ceramic sinks, toilets and cisterns at household waste recovery centres in the county from next Monday.
Charges were introduced last year for tipping rubble, soil and plasterboard and those charges applied to broken up ceramics, but not to complete items. The new approach is to charge for broken and intact ceramic sinks, toilets and cisterns.
The council is under unprecedented pressure to save money to protect front-line services, and charging residents to deposit waste which it has no obligation to accept is one of a number of measures that are being introduced in order to avoid service cuts.
Councils are under no obligation to take DIY, construction and demolition waste and a number have already introduced charges while some others provide no facilities at all for DIY waste.
It is still free to take any general household waste, plastic and cast-iron baths, old furniture, electrical and electronic domestic appliances, car batteries, garden waste and other unwanted household items to any waste centre in the county.
There is a fixed unit charge for intact ceramic bathroom and kitchen fittings, while the charge is £2 per bag if they are broken up, same as soil, rubble and plasterboard. It is £12 for a load in a standard car/hatchback; £20 in a small trailer/estate car/small van; £40 in a longer trailer and £80 in a transit van. Users of vans, trailers and commercial vehicles will also need a permit.
Payments will be by credit or debit or pre-paid payment card only – and visitors to the sites should agree the charge and pay before depositing their waste.
These charges to residents will still not cover the total cost of disposing of this DIY waste and the council will continue to fund the rest of the cost.
Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member responsible for local services at Northumberland County Council said: “We know that our household waste centres are highly valued by residents, and introducing these small charges and considering other changes are not easy decisions. However the council has to save money so that it can maintain essential front-line services, including those for the most vulnerable.
“We are looking closely at all the services we provide – considering where efficiencies can be made and services provided more cost effectively. We are not obliged to dispose of householders’ DIY waste, and a number of other councils have already introduced charges – many higher than these in Northumberland.”
The specific types of waste that the charges now apply to include ceramic bathroom and kitchen fittings such as toilets, sinks, pedestals and shower trays.
Charges also apply to ceramic pipes; bricks and breeze blocks; concrete and paving slabs; gravel, stone, sand and soil; rubble hard core and tarmac; plasterboard; stone hearths and fire surrounds, tiles, slates and glass windows.
On arriving at the site, a site attendant will inspect the items the householder wishes to tip, advise of the appropriate charge and take the payment. Charges will be based on the number of items/bags or the proportion of a loaded vehicle.
In addition to charging and use of permits each household in Northumberland is only permitted to take a total of six cubic yards of any DIY waste to sites each year. Other ways of disposing of additional items include through private skip hire, through a commercial disposal site or through use of one of the waste bag services available at DIY stores.
Household waste recovery centres do not accept waste from tradespeople, property developers or landlords.