Childminders commercial waste bill

Monday October 26th 2020

East Lothian Council

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Childminders who work from homes in East Lothian could be hit with annual fees after the local authority told them that “nappies and food waste” cannot be disposed of in domestic bins.

About 100 registered childminders in the county received a letter from East Lothian Council’s waste services team informing them that charges of £81.28 would be introduced to cover their “commercial waste”.

The letter said: “We are aware that there are many registered childminders carrying out a commercial activity from their own homes.

“Any waste generated from childminding and placed in your green bin/taken to the recycling centre, put in a street/shore bin is classed as commercial waste and the disposal of it is not included in your council tax payment.”

The letter added that a review of waste services had found that “many commercial activities have fallen through the loop” and asked childminders to fill in an attached form it said was a “legal document to ensure that your commercial waste is being disposed off with a Registered Waste Disposer”.

Councillor Stuart Currie, SNP Group leader and COSLA spokesperson for health and social care, said that he received a number of complaints from constituents after the letters were sent out.

He said: “I met with the chief executive to make clear I thought these letters coming out of the blue were not acceptable and that there should be a period of consultation with people to find out exactly what trade waste there was in reality.

“This was agreed and I understand a further letter is going to the same people to start the discussion.

“In my view, we need to encourage childminders to help deliver 1,140 hours of childcare but also help parents be able to work too.

“I actually think that there are other areas of focus that should be happening on some businesses who regularly fill domestic waste bins with trade waste.”

A council spokesperson insisted that the local authority was not “demanding payment” from childminders.

They said: “Rather this is ensuring that registered childminders have the appropriate means to dispose of waste associated with their business, which could include nappies, clinical waste, packaging and food waste.

“Approximately 100 registered businesses have been contacted and it’s expected that the majority will not need additional waste collections.

“We are aware this is an approach taken by other local authorities to ensure appropriate and safe waste collection and disposal practices are being carried out.”

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