Dublin households facing extra €21-a-year for green bin bills
Tens of thousands of Dublin households are facing bills for their green bins for the first time.
From next month waste operator Panda is to introduce charges for around 250,000 customers nationwide.
The waste management company is to roll out the new charges to its 125,000 customers in Dublin first before expanding the new regime nationwide.
Traditionally, recyclable waste has been processed free of charge in Ireland but chief executive of Panda, Des Crinion, said a collapse in global waste import markets has forced their hand in relation to fees.
China was the world's biggest processor of recyclable waste but recently closed its doors to importing waste from abroad, upsetting waste markets globally. Around 95pc of Ireland's plastic waste and the vast majority of waste paper was shipped to China in 2016.
"With China closed to global companies, the cost of recycling worldwide has escalated dramatically as more companies jostle for access to reduced outlets in the rest of the world," Mr Crinion said.
"We have absorbed these increased costs for as long as is possible but it is not sustainable to continue to do so. We can't ship this overseas forever."
The cost per kilogramme of recyclable waste is 4.5c per customer with an 80c per-lift charge in Dun Laoghaire, Rathdown and Fingal - the company's biggest markets for domestic waste in Dublin.
Mr Crinion said the pricing structure for waste collection nationwide differs for various reasons, but said the average extra annual cost for households will be €21.
He said efforts to source cost-effective alternatives around the globe had failed.
The company plans to open the country's first plastic processing plant with hopes to eventually produce refuse sacks or bags for life.
The move will see the company look towards dealing with the waste produced at home, creating jobs and moving towards a circular economy model, he said - but it will not lead to lower charges on recycling.
"We're looking after our own problems here, which is the right thing to do," he said.
He said he would be "surprised" if other companies didn't follow suit.