herald

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Bins won't be collected if you refuse to 'pay by weight'

Environment Minister Simon Coveney (Photo: Mark Condren)
Environment Minister Simon Coveney (Photo: Mark Condren)

People who refuse to pay under the controversial new pay-by-weight waste scheme won't have their bins collected, it has been confirmed.

Environment Minister Simon Coveney announced that he was scrapping a proposed minimum 2c charge per kilo of recyclable material.

However, Panda waste manager John Dunne said that this charge was a "misnomer". It will be up to private waste collectors to decide what they charge for green bin collections.

While the minister said that the minimum charge had been dropped, no maximum charge was introduced.

Launch

Mr Dunne, who attended an event yesterday to launch a pay by weight awareness campaign, also said that as far as the industry was concerned, those who didn't pay wouldn't have their bins collected.

He declined to reveal how much his company would be charging per kilo in each bin category - recycling, compost and general waste.

He said the minister's decision to do away with the minimum for recycling bins meant that the company would have to rethink the issue.

Pay by weight is due to be rolled out by July 1 - however there is still no information about how the pricing structure will work in practice.

It was confirmed that refuge collection would be charged on the basis of a flat rate and an additional retrospective pay by weight charge, depending on the amount put out for disposal by households.

The system abolishes the ability of collectors to charge a flat-fee to households to dispose of waste, regardless of how much is produced.

Instead, they are obliged to charge a minimum of 11 cent per kilo of black bin waste earmarked for landfill, and six cent per kilo of brown bin compost waste, which includes food scraps. However, in reality operators will likely charge more than this.

The system also planned to introduce a 2 cent per kilo levy for green bin waste, made up of tin cans, paper and milk cartons.

It caused growing concern among opposition parties including the Greens, Fianna Fail and People Before Profit, which suggested the levy would increase levels of illegal dumping and discourage households from recycling.

Mr Coveney yesterday said no levy would be set out for recycled waste.

He said the new pay-by-weight system would mean that most household would pay on a "fairer and more transparent" basis.

There was no representative from the Department of the Environment at the launch yesterday.

However, representatives from the three regional waste-planning offices said they had been tasked with overseeing the roll out.

Waste

Kevin Swift, regional waste co-ordinator for Connacht- Ulster, said he could not guarantee families would pay less as part of the new scheme. He said, in fact, some may pay more.

"Pay by weight is consistent with EU and national waste policy and also with the key targets of the three regional waste plans," a statement said.

Ireland's household recycling rate is around 40pc, but it was hoped that this would increase to 50pc by the end of 2020.

The Government has insisted the move will help encourage people to separate their waste and to recycle more.

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