You need a car if you want to take rubbish to the tip. Not a van. Not a trailer. But also not a bicycle. And you can’t go on foot.

There are reasons why these rules are becoming standard at most councils’ recycling centres. Banning vans and trailers makes it harder for anyone wanting to pass off trade waste as domestic. And safety concerns exclude pedestrians and cyclists.

But how are you supposed to recycle stuff if you don’t have a car? If your local tip is close enough for you to walk or go on a bike, you could recycle old videos or CDs, electronic gear, saucepans, a spent Christmas tree, clothes, and so on. None of these can go in the regular recycling collection, but they don’t belong in the dustbin either.

Nearly 6 million households in England and Wales don’t have a car or van. That’s 25 per cent of them.

True, many councils operate a bulky waste collection service for certain items. But it’s free only for a small minority of council areas, and even those are likely to start charging next year.

The £20 fee for bulky item collection looks like a charge levied on people who want to recycle but who don’t have cars.