Tesco demonstrating the difference between socialism and business.

by | Apr 26, 2011 | Economic Intrigue, Just plain weird, Please fuck off., Politics, Righteous Wankers, Wasp likes these, Well I never. | 6 comments

An interesting little spat going on between Tesco and local councils over the siting of recycling bins (emphasis mine) :

Tesco is to remove hundreds of council bottle banks and recycling bins in its supermarket car parks, denying local authorities of millions of pounds of revenue.

Tesco has decided to take this recycling in house and written to all local authorities, informing them that they need to remove their bins by the start of next month. It has said it will replace these bins by others, operated by its own private contractor DS Smith.

Ray Bloxham, the councillor responsible for the environment in Carlisle, said: “This is an example of corporate greed. Tesco is going to be making millions from this, and we will be struggling.

We made around £80,000 a year from the bins, and all this money was pumped into maintaining less-widely used recycling bins in other areas. I am not sure what is going to happen now, we will have to look at all the options.

“I did have a lot of respect for the company, allowing us to use their car parks, but that has gone out of the window now.”

Tesco will now receive the credits, potentially raising well over £1 million a year for the retailer. It insists that none of it will end up boosting its profits; instead it will inject the money back to the local communities in projects of its choosing, such as school sports programmes.

However, a spokesman said it had not decided exactly where the money would be spent, and nor could she give a guarantee that the money would be used as to fund local council recycling bins.

Some local councillors have expressed concern that they will no longer have control over how much money has been raised.

Jo Wagstaffe, corporate director for resources and transformation in Carlisle, said: “We are disappointed with this decision. We are now worried it could put strain on the affordability of our other recycling sites. Income from the busiest sites enables us to operate smaller sites and those in more rural locations.”

Rather than Councillor Bloxham’s view of this being corporate greed I would suggest that Tesco is actually demonstrating to the council what they should have been doing in the first place. Namely running profitable recycling centres and ploughing the money back into those same local areas that make the effort to recycle.

Other than as a real world demonstration of socialism in action, what on earth is the point of making money in one place and then pissing it up the wall to subsidise a loss making service elsewhere? There will be no loss of revenue at all if the councils did the right thing and stopped running loss making services paid for by profits from elsewhere. Whatever spin the councils are trying to put on it, it is nothing more than pointless redistribution of wealth that in this case benefits no-one.

I would imagine that most of the people who are making the effort to recycle will be rather surprised to find that the fruits of their labours are not actually benefiting anyone at all other than to provide underused bottle banks in other places. Indeed, I expect that the vast majority would prefer the Tesco option in the article of using the money raised to directly benefit the community doing the work. Even if Tesco decided to take a slice of the pie for themselves (why shouldn’t they make something for providing a service from their own property) communities really would benefit from receiving extra money that the council currently wastes on subsidising facilities which people either don’t use or don’t want.

I expect local newspapers to be filled with bellyaching about greedy old Tesco in the coming weeks as the shroud wavers join in the witchhunt against corporate greed and I bet there will be bugger all articles praising Tesco later when they do start dishing out the receipts from this damned good idea.

Zacharie Perez


  1. microdave

    As one council is now trying to charge people using PUBLIC parks for paid activities, maybe Tesco thought they would turn the tables….

    Much as I hate the company, it’s their land, so no council can expect to have the use of it for nothing.

    • Wasp

      Microdave – yes it is their land and they certainly know their business however much I also dislike the general concept of steamrollering everything else in the persuit of growth.

      I really cannot understand the councils stance on this though as they are freely admitting to pissing an £80k profit provided by conscientious recyclers up the wall to fund underutilised bottle banks. Surely they would have had the upper hand on the argument if they were having to cut £80k of community grants as a result of Tesco pissing them off?

  2. JuliaM

    “I expect local newspapers to be filled with bellyaching about greedy old Tesco in the coming weeks…”

    Hopefully this news has given some of the Bristol anti-Tesco squatters apoplexy… 😉

    • Wasp

      Julia – perhaps it is a cover story being used to justify the removal of handy ammunition from Tesco car parks – the Police probably requested it so they don’t get clobbered with a few tonnes of flying bottles next time they go charging in to cause bother.

  3. Furor Teutonicus

    XX “We made around £80,000 a year from the bins,……

    Tesco will now receive the credits, potentially raising well over £1 million a year for the retailer.XX

    Hmm. So this prat admits, the council are useless at making money from the bins? If not, why are they only making 80K to Tescos Million+?

    Or, is he, as all “Government” departments, national and local, just “plucking numbers out of the air”?

    • Wasp

      FT – just think of all the recycling bins they could have subsidised if they were pulling a million per year – people wouldn’t be able to move for the damned things.