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Saturday 21 April 2018

Latest bin charge hikes to hit pensioners and unemployed

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

PENSIONERS and single people face the prospect of being hit with higher bin charges from January after one of the biggest players in the waste-collection market changed its charging system.

Greyhound Recycling, which took over Dublin City Council's waste service last year, will now impose a monthly fee of €12.50 to collect waste from some 33,000 customers previously in receipt of a waiver.

These customers previously paid an annual charge of €49.95, with a €5.50 fee each time their black bin was emptied and €3 for each brown bin.

But Greyhound has now told waiver customers there would be no annual charge, but instead a flat fee of €12.50 would be imposed from January "regardless if you present your bins or not".

One pensioner who contacted the Irish Independent said he rarely required his bins to be emptied as he lived alone.

"As a person living on their own and a pensioner to boot, the number of times I would require the black and brown bins to be emptied is quite low," he said.

He estimated his black bin was emptied four times a year, and his brown bin five times, giving him an annual bill of €92.90. The increased charges would result in an annual bill of €150, an increase of €57.10.

"This increase would operate regardless of whether my bins were emptied or not, but I would have the privilege of paying them an increased rate of 62pc and so would everyone else living alone in this area."

The move will affect pensioners and those in receipt of social welfare who could not afford to pay the full rate.

However, they are likely to benefit families who put out their bins on a regular basis.

Greyhound said it was still the cheapest provider on the market, and subsidised its collection service for waiver customers, which cost €1m a year.

The changes were made following customer feedback, it added.

"Greyhound is the only household waste management company that offers a reduced rate to former Dublin City Council waiver customers," it said.

"The changes being made are as a result of the economically and challenging environment in which we find ourselves and are based on customer feedback from last year, which indicated that a large number of customers favoured a set monthly charge as opposed to an annual fee combined with a pay-per-bin-lift system.

The firm said the "majority" of its customers wanted a flat-fee system, and it was responding to consumer demand.

"We have to take the feedback from our customers and that's what the majority of our customers are saying," a spokeswoman said.

The company is currently in the process of contacting all its waiver customers to make them aware of any changes.

* AN environmental watchdog sniffed out a serious odour problem at Greyhound's storage site, a court has heard.

Greyhound has pleaded guilty to failing to prevent emissions and odours coming from its main storage facility in Dublin.

The company and two of its directors, brothers Michael and Brian Buckley, are being prosecuted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and face accusations that they broke waste management regulations.

Dublin District Court heard that the company and the Buckley brothers faced four charges for failing to adhere to waste management conditions of their licence, between August 2011 and May 2012.

While the firm has entered a guilty plea, Brian and Michael Buckley, from Terenure, in Dublin, are contesting their charges. The hearing will resume before Judge John O'Neill next month.

Irish Independent

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