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Prague - The current maximum fee of CZK 500 for annual garbage collection will soon increase. Anyone trying to save money will do well to start recycling more.
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek wanted to propose this radical change at the cabinet's Monday meeting.
The amendment to a law about local fees he is proposing would raise the fee from CZK 500 to CZK 1,250 a year. Municipalities are already finding that the CZK 500 fee per person is insufficient to cover garbage pick up expenses.
But Environment Minster Martin Bursík is proposing a different model and doesn't want to see the flat annual fee increased.
"I believe that the cabinet will approve it," says Bursík who wants people to pay at a maximum CZK 1,000 a year.
If you recycle, you will save money
The CZK 1,000 would be composed of two parts. The first would be a fixed fee of CZK 250, the second part would a flexible amount that would depend on how people recycle.
"If you recycle, you will save money," says Bursík. The more plastic bottles or old newspapers people sort, the less garbage there will be in garbage containers, so it will not need to be emptied so often.
The proposed bill about waste also counts on municipalities enabling people to recycle metal, drink-bottle cardboard containers and bio-garbage, besides the usual plastics, glass and paper.
"If people recycle, we can reduce waste to a minimum," says Bursík.
Could this lead to illegal dumps?
But isn't there a risk that town halls will charge everyone the maximum fee of CZK 1,000 regardless of whether or not they recycle?
The Environment Ministry says this can be avoided if town halls are required to explain all garbage collection payments and to list all the garbage collection costs.
The ministry is neither concerned about people setting up illegal dumping sites. Zdeňka Bubeníková from the ministry's waste department says people today are much more ecologically minded.
"The situation has improved a great deal over the last 10 years," she says.
Adapted and republished by Prague Daily Monitor.