Non-North Yorkshire residents are set to be banned from using the county’s household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) as part of changes to the service.
Changes to the way commercial waste is handled at recycling centres is also proposed.
North Yorkshire Council has a legal duty to provide household waste recycling centres for residents to dispose of any additional household waste, free of charge.
There are 20 household waste recycling centres (plus mobile sites) across North Yorkshire and officials say this service, including the disposal of the waste delivered, costs more than £5 million a year.
To help address increasing costs and improve the service it provides, the council is looking at various options for HWRCs and is asking people to share their views about changes to the following services:
Restricting the use to North Yorkshire residents only.
Limiting access for commercial-like vehicles.
Changes to commercial waste.
Seventeen per cent of household waste recycling centre users live outside North Yorkshire.
If only North Yorkshire residents were allowed to use the household waste recycling centres, this could generate savings of approximately £140,000 a year.
Similarly, 93 per cent of visitors in a commercial-like vehicle (for example, a van or a pick-up) visit less than 12 times a year.
Council bosses say some waste being deposited from these vehicles could be commercial waste, which should be paid for.
If the council limits these vehicles to 12 visits a year, it could bring in savings of around £370,000 and reduce congestion at sites to improve the experience for everyone.
Commercial waste, which is a paid-for service, is currently accepted at all household waste recycling centres (except Harrogate Stonefall).
Although the council has no legal obligation to accept commercial waste at household waste recycling centres, it understands that this is a useful service to very small businesses that operate from home in rural areas.
Therefore, people are also being asked whether they would support the accurate weighing and charging of commercial waste.
The council’s executive member for waste services, Cllr Greg White, said: “It is important that we continue to provide high-quality waste and recycling services for our residents and businesses, that doesn’t have a detrimental impact on our overall costs and the offer we provide.
“By limiting access to North Yorkshire residents only – which would align with most of our neighbouring local authorities – we can ensure we continue to provide an excellent and cost-effective service for our residents.
“And by improving our service for commercial-like vehicles, as well as commercial waste, we can also ensure businesses would be charged an accurate and fair amount for their waste.
“Before we adopt any changes to the HWRCs, we would welcome views to understand the benefits of each approach and what it will mean for our residents and businesses.”
People can share their views online at www.northyorks.gov.uk/survey-hwrc until Wednesday, January 31.
In 2022/23, the council’s network of HWRCs handled more than 57,000 tonnes of waste, much of which was either recycled or re-used.
Hundreds of items can be taken to one of the HWRCs for recycling, from small electrical appliances to musical instruments. Since October 2022, some five tonnes of medical equipment have been donated for recycling.
Cllr white said: “Recycling is great for the planet as it reduces the cost of buying new and gives unwanted items another lease of life. I’d urge people to make the most of return and reuse schemes, so that collectively we can make a positive impact on the environment.”