Households will be able to dispose of small amounts of DIY waste for free at Devon County Council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres, from Sunday 31st December. Up to now, the legal definition of household waste has not included materials from the repair or improvement of houses, for example, home improvement types of waste. So, councils have had no obligation to accept such waste free of charge. Councils have used the revenue to invest back in to keep waste services running. However, the government has recently changed the legislation such that a small amount of DIY waste will be accepted at Household Waste Recycling Centres. The Government says councils will need to cover the additional costs of disposal themselves. Proposals to help mitigate the additional costs are being developed and are likely to include some DIY waste restrictions at some sites, as well as developing a system to manage the free DIY waste allowances. The scheme will not apply to certain items, such as tyres and hazardous asbestos, and the charges for these will continue in the normal way. As of Sunday 31st December 2023 a weekly free allowance for DIY type waste will be available to households. This is limited to 1 visit per week with either: up to two rubble bags (which can be safely carried by the depositor) per visit, or one single (unbagged) item up to a maximum of two  metres in length per visit Any excess DIY waste material, oversize DIY material, or additional visits over a household’s free weekly allowance will incur charges as normal.

The free allowance is only provided to householders generating DIY waste produced by their own DIY works at their own domestic property. Construction and demolition waste generated by works for which a payment has been made is not accepted.

Councillor Roger Croad, the County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for waste, said: “The change in legislation means that small amounts of DIY waste, in some circumstances, will be accepted for free at household waste recycling centres.  “There are limits to how much a person can dispose of for free, and how frequently. Any DIY waste in excess of those limits will be subject to a charge in the normal way.

“We won’t know the impact that this change in legislation will have on our costs until we’ve some experience of it. We will, however, be introducing a new scheme in the New Year to help us mitigate the additional costs.”