A BUSINESSMAN has questioned Thurrock Council’s commitment to recycling after being threatened with a £300 fine for taking a small amount of recycleable waste from his place of work to his home for disposal.
As an alternative, the council say he can pay £9.50 a month for the waste to be taken away and dumped in landfill!
Eddie Stringer decided to go back to work after retiring, and became one of a number of small businessmen and women at the Chestnut Garden Centre in South Ockendon.
He takes up the story: “I used to run a small business from home until I retired!
“To avoid being bored and lonely I’ve opened a small part time shop in a local garden centre operating for 30 hours a week as a sort of hobby where I get to meet people!
“I produce one swingbin of rubbish every week, not even full and being solely cardboard and paper! I always took this home and religiously placed it in my recycling blue bin.
“Now the council want to either fine me £300 for not having a waste disposal licence or charge me £9.50 every four weeks to have a general waste bin on site. General waste won’t be recycled like my cardboard and paper used to be, so the council’s revenue generating scheme is now helping toward climate change by not letting me continue to recycle my paper and cardboard.
“On site we have a cafe and a pet shop that have their own bins. Us other four or five shops really don’t produce that much waste but the council enforcement officer came in and wanted all nine little shops here each to have their own bin under the threat of a £300 fine each if we didn’t take one out.
“He would not accept that we don’t generate rubbish in a large scale. Most shops don’t even cover their rent as they are all like hobby craft businesses.
“The vintage shop here doesn’t generate and waste at all.
“The argument even got to making a sandwich at home wrapping it in cling film and bringing it to the shop to eat. He said the cling film then becomes trade waste and can not be taken home again.
“He finally gave in and let us share a bin which I have taken out a direct debit to pay at £9.50 every four weeks but I doubt if that will even be filled up. It won’t be recycled, it will just go in general and if I try take my cardboard and paper home to recycle it he insists I’ll get fined.
“The £9.50 a month don’t bother me that much but my issue is that I’m now being prevented from recycling my paper and cardboard waste! So now someone is having to cut down more trees so Thurrock Council can earn more money. It seems the council are deliberately preventing me from recycling my waste for their own financial gain!”
The Thurrock Independent contacted Thurrock Council just after 10am yesterday and asked for a response regarding Mr Stringer’s complaint as a matter of some urgency. The council’s policy guideline for such matters is to reply within 24 hours but as yet we have had no response.