herald

Sunday 11 December 2016

€80 difference in bin bills for families in pay-by-weight plans

A City Bin Company collection. Photo: Collins
A City Bin Company collection. Photo: Collins

Dublin families will be able to save almost €80 by shopping around for the cheapest bin collector when pay-by-weight charges come into force.

A survey of all companies operating in the capital by the Herald shows the value of shopping around - based on current levies, the cheapest charges are €354 per year compared with almost €430 for the most expensive.

The survey shows:

• Advanced Waste Recycling and Thorntons will be the cheapest service providers in Dublin for a family using an average amount of waste. The bill will be €354 per year.

• Panda will be the most expensive provider, with costs for a family in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown at €429.76 per year. This is based on each bin being lifted 26 times a year.

• Panda will also be the only company in Dublin charging per bin lift, as well as per kilo of waste generated.

• The second most expensive waste provider will be Greyhound, but some discounts will be available to their high standing charge of €169 per year if customers pay in advance.

• It also shows the average annual bin cost for a family under the pay-by-weight system will be €387.39.

Calculate

The survey used average waste figures for a family provided by the Department of the Environment to calculate average costs.

Average family waste per year is 600kg for black bin (general waste), 200kg for brown bin (compost and food waste) and 200kg for green bin (recycling).

Clean Ireland Recycling did not respond to requests to take part in the survey, despite being contacted seven times.

The companies said that management were either unavailable or in meetings.

The survey comes after the Government decided to postpone the controversial pay-by-weight charges for 12 months.

However, from next January all operators will have to introduce a dual-billing system.

This means the bill under existing price plans will be listed, along with the amount to be paid under the pay-by-weight system.

Not until July next year will you have to move to pay-by-weight. The plan to introduce the charges on July 1 was met with public outrage over the potential rise in costs for families.

Planning, Housing and Local Government Minister Simon Coveney said the charges were being delayed so people could "choose pay-by-weight rather than being shoehorned into it."

A spokesperson for one operator, City Bin, said that the Government "literally ran for the hills" when the public reacted angrily to the new system.

Stephen Martin, from Advanced Waste Recycling, said some of the bigger companies have taken advantage and "put greed over need".

His prices are among the lowest in Dublin, but he insists that he is not selling below cost.

"If we get the prices we have quoted we're happy we can make money at those prices," he said. "But some of the bigger guys in Dublin have put greed over need. They've made us all out to be criminals and thieves, which is not the case."

A spokesperson for Greyhound denied allegations that they were among the most expensive waste providers in Dublin, saying: "They're not by a long shot. If you average it out over the whole customer base we offer the best value on the market place."

Many of the waste providers remain in the dark, with Government uncertainty about the issue affecting their plans.

Thorntons aren't sure if the prices they currently have in place will be the same when pay-by-weight begins to be implemented in six months time. They are also considering bringing in additional offers for different types of customers.

Customers

Greenstar also said that they are unsure if they will be able to stand over their quoted costs.

"Customers are signing up with us at this moment, they sign up as they would have done with our previous pricing. So what'll happen to that pay-by-weight pricing, I don't know; no idea," said a spokesperson.

Many waste providers have complained at the extra costs that pay-by-weight legislation will put on their businesses.

Some smaller waste providers around the country have said it could even put them out of business due to the added costs of installing the machinery needed to weight bins.

"It's put us under an awful lot of pressure because there's been a lot of spend to bring trucks and get all our software up to a level where we can do this," said one.

"We've had to spend €70,000 so far and now the Government are telling us they're not bringing it in."

The City Bin spokesperson said that the public aren't ready for pay-by-weight yet.

"I think the whole thing needs to be rethought. The public aren't ready to change their behaviour yet," they said.

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