Tuesday 19 September 2017

Flat-fee bin charges to be banned in bid to increase recycling rates

Flat-fee waste collection charges will be banned by the Government under a new system designed to increase recycling rates. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Flat-fee waste collection charges will be banned by the Government under a new system designed to increase recycling rates. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Flat-fee waste collection charges will be banned by the Government under a new system designed to increase recycling rates.

Environment Minister Denis Naughten said that a more “flexible approach” for waste collection charges had been approved, which would allow companies to charge based on the number of times the bin was lifted, by weight, through a weight allowance coupled with a higher charge per kilogramme produced above this or through a combination of all.

“Allowing for a range of charging options, which most consumers are already familiar with, will encourage householders to reduce and separate their waste while choosing the service-price offering that best suits their circumstances and allows them manage their costs,” he said.

“Therefore, I have decided not to impose a compulsory ‘one size fits all’ per-kilogramme charging system on waste collectors.”

It comes because of the amount of waste being sent to landfill has increased in the last two years. The Government says that an “incentivised pricing structure” is needed to improve recycling rates.

Under the new arrangement, waste collectors can offer a range of incentivised pricing options.

“A one size fits all mandatory, nationwide per-kilogramme charging system will not be implemented,” the department said.

“However, ‘all-in flat rate’ charging for household waste will start to be phased out as customers renew or enter new service contracts.”

All waste collectors will also be required to start rolling-out food/organic “brown” bins to all localities nationwide with a population greater than 500 people. They could be extended to all areas at a later day.

An annual support of €75 will be introduced for persons with lifelong or long-term medical incontinence to help reduce bills.

The Green Party said that consumers would suffer if the new system wasn’t properly regulated, and that recycling had to remain free.

“We must not penalise people for recycling, and without guidance or regulation on this, bin companies will be allowed charge what they want,” party leader Eamon Ryan said.

“Other measures to reduce the amount of waste in Ireland, such as the introduction of a deposit return scheme on bottles and cans, and the phasing out of single use plastics should be introduced at the same time the pay-by-weight scheme is rolled out.”

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