Sunday 25 September 2016

Dump your rubbish properly or face fines

Households and businesses could face bills of up to €3,000

Published 13/07/2015 | 02:30

Illegal dumping: ‘Online selling is an issue because there’s no accountability despite it representing 10pc of packaging'
Illegal dumping: ‘Online selling is an issue because there’s no accountability despite it representing 10pc of packaging'
Illegal dumping: ‘Online selling is an issue because there’s no accountability despite it representing 10pc of packaging'
Illegal dumping: ‘Online selling is an issue because there’s no accountability despite it representing 10pc of packaging’

Local authorities are planning a major crackdown on households and businesses which fail to properly dispose of their waste.

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Inspectors will use customers' registration data held by bin companies to identify homeowners who may be illegally dumping rubbish, and can impose fines of up to €3,000.

And packaging waste recyclers Repak is also in talks with the Department of the Environment to fund inspectors in city and county councils.

The company, which charges producers an annual levy to pay for disposal costs, says that as much as 10pc of all packaging waste coming onto the market is not properly disposed of.

It is concerned that online retailers are not tracking their waste and has offered to pay for inspectors to audit the firms.

The move comes amid major changes to the waste industry coming into force next July, which include a move to a pay-by-weight household charging system.

The Department of the Environment said the new measures also required kerbside waste collectors and operators of facilities which accepted waste directly to maintain a register of customers.

"Authorised officers from local authority environment departments will be able to request details of this register from operators," a spokesman said.

"They will be able to use this register to develop a composite picture of who is using a collection service or depositing their waste at an authorised facility. Householders not on this register are implicitly not using any of the normal avenues of treatment, so the register is intended as a means of better targeting enforcement action against these householders."

Fines of up to €3,000 could be imposed, he added.

Figures from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggest that as much as 214,000 tonnes of waste a year is "unmanaged" or does not enter a licensed facility.

The agency has also reported a rise in the number of complaints made about illegal dumping in recent years.

In 2012, some 870 complaints were made to the National Environmental Complaints Line. This increased to 1,850 in 2013, with a slight reduction to 1,470 in 2014.

Repak, which charges the industry a levy to dispose of waste, said that 95pc of packaging waste was recovered, amounting to 812,000 tonnes last year.

But chief executive Seamus Clancy said there were a "large" number of producers, particularly those selling online, which were not compliant with the legislation.

The group was in talks with the Department of the Environment about funding inspectors, something the department said it was "favourably disposed" towards.

"There is quite a large cohort which are still not members and are not self-compliant," Mr Clancy said.

"We're now saying we will put a financial support in. If they [local authorities] want assistance in relation to this, we won't be found wanting. We could fund those enforcement officers. We're offering to local authorities that we will assist if a mechanism is in place.

"Online selling is a huge issue because there's no accountability despite accounting for up to 10pc of all packaging."

Irish Independent

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