Council urged to ‘urgently reconsider’ household clinical waste charges

Thanet council charge for disposing of household clinical waste

Thanet council is being called on to ‘urgently reconsider’ a decision to charge for the disposal of household clinical waste.

The charge applies to yellow or orange sacks and sharps boxes.

The decision to charge, which will hit many people including diabetics who use sharps boxes for disposal, was made in December when new fees and charges were agreed for the 2018/19 financial year as part of the council budget.

In a letter sent to people who use the service, Thanet council says although the service was previously free it has been necessary to ‘revisit’ the issue of charging.

The letter states: “Unfortunately, in the current financial climate, the question of charging has been revisited and it was agreed by Full Council in December 2017 that the council now needs to charge for this service.

“This decision has not been made lightly and we have tried to keep the cost to a minimum.”

From April 1 the charges will be:

£214.13 per year for providing and collecting clinical sacks

£6.71 per collection for provision and collection of a 11.5 litre sharps container

£8.49 for provision and collection of 22 litre sharps container.

Thanet council also suggests using normal waste collections, although advises some people may find it necessary to buy an extra black lidded bin.

The letter says: “As the clinical waste from your home is not infectious it can go to landfill which means that instead of receiving the clinical waste collection you could use the normal black bin waste collection.”

Other local authorities, including Canterbury, do not charge for the service.

Councillors from Thanet’s Labour Group say the want the decision reviewed immediately.

Cllr Jenny Matterface, speaking on behalf of the group, said: “I have been getting phone calls and emails from residents shocked to learn they will have to pay £214 for their yellow-bagged waste and a charge for each collection of their sharps in the secure container.

“As one resident said ‘ I didn’t choose to be a diabetic and it isn’t due to my lifestyle yet I am being penalised for it’.

“Another told me he is concerned that those who have the contaminated waste bags will just use the communal black bin at their block of flats. ‘Who can say that it isn’t infectious or a risk to others?

“Will those using needles just wrap them in newspaper and put in the bin?’It is a potential health hazard.

“These charges are an additional burden on those already having to cope with a medical condition and we call upon TDC to reconsider the matter urgently.”

Angry residents have made complaints to Thanet council and contacted isle MPs Craig Mackinlay and Sir Roger Gale.  The Diabetes UK charity has also been contacted.

A Thanet council spokesman said: “Residents who are registered with us for clinical waste collections have been contacted directly about new charges for the service. Councils have been able to charge for this service for a number of years but until now we have not done so.

“However, in the current financial climate, with ever decreasing funding from central government, charging for certain services has had to be revisited. It was agreed by Full Council in December 2017 that we would need to start charging for this service in order to cover the costs of providing it.

“We have kept the charge to a minimum. It’s not a decision that was taken lightly but pressure on budgets means that tough choices have to be made.”


  1. Glad I got the ball rolling on this one. Nobody has considered the bin men who will have to handle the Clinical Waste if it has been put in the black lidded waste bins. Their union won’t be happy

  2. The collection of the yellow bags, is a one man job. The vehicle used is small by comparison and probably cheaper to run than the usual Dust Carts, so I do not understand why they have to charge more than four times the amount of money, they charge for garden waste collection. This is nothing more than a kick in the teeth for very sick people, who simply do not have the funds to pay for this. By encouraging people to put heavy duty plastic catheter bags into landfill is outrageous. Whatever next with TDC for vulnerable people in Thanet?

  3. Yes, this could be a public health hazard for binmen and others if people put needles or infectious personal waste in the black bin. The whole point of the yellow bags for waste and containers for sharps is to protect anyone who comes in contact with them. Some residents have stoma bags and catheters that should be incinerated not dumped in landfill.

  4. I didn’t choose to be diabetic, pay for collection no, black bin it is , I feel for the waste collectors who will deal with hyperdermic syringes which could be infected by God knows what. And the cost to the council in cash and time if someone does get pricked and has to get tested,

  5. What happens if one of the binmen is injured or falls ill from coming into contact with items not disposed of properly?Who is liable as it may be impossible to trace the source?

  6. How many people will it take to catch something serious, TB, HIV, from dropped needles broken bags. Let’s see how much Thanet council then have to pay in compensation for lives that are ruined. Before they see sense. No one is using this service for a laugh, we all use it because we have no choice. Most of us are on extremely low income or benefits, as these are capped how are we supposed to pay for this. Council tax has already risen, let’s see blood from a stone. Well done TDC , yet another stupid idea!

  7. So if we put sharps into the household waste bin are we likely to be charged for endangering the refuse mans health.

  8. We haven’t received any notification other than on this site. Posting of a document or letter is not proof of delivery.

    • I have also heard from those who use the service who haven’t had a letter yet. Do I advise they contact TDC or wait until the due date and see what happens? That’s a bit of a quandary.

  9. One lawsuit owing to an employee or member of the public contracting something nasty from a needle or other sharp item in clinical waste, and then the savings from this ridiculous exercise will be dwarfed by the legal costs and compensation that WILL be awarded. The question won’t be about ‘if’ that happens: the only uncertainty is ‘when’, as in ‘how soon’! Does Madeline Homer feel lucky?

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