'One Pringles can in the wrong bin could result in charge'- Dáil hears waste collector plans to impose penalties for items dumped incorrectly
A waste collection company is to impose "outrageous" charges of up to €25 if customers accidentally puts the wrong item in the wrong bin, the Dáil has been told.
Fianna Fáil TD Jack Chambers has accused the government of failing to address problems surrounding waste collection and said that the lack of an awareness campaign the new charging system will mean families will "inevitably pay more".
He said the issue causing "concern and distress" in his Dublin West constituency.
"I've been made aware of one waste collector, Panda, who is now imposing different charges, fees, fines and penalties seemingly at their will," he added.
"Under the new agreement of terms and conditions that they propose they've said that they're going to charge between €10 and €25 if a customer accidentally puts the wrong item in the wrong bin."
He said that "one Pringles can" in the wrong bin would result in a charge and added: "that's outrageous".
Mr Chambers claimed it's outrageous because the government is "doing absolutely nothing about it".
He described a watchdog planned by the government as "toothless" saying "we need a fully financed regulator" as proposed by his party.
He said the agreement between Panda and customers also gives the company “sole discretion” over the price of service.
Mr Chambers claimed that waste collection companies are "exploiting the government's inaction and are bringing in whatever hidden charges and penalties they like".
He said: "it's important we have proper regulation, proper oversight and when it's a billion euro industry for a public utility we need to intervene and we must to the right thing."
The Dáil is this evening debating a Fianna Fáil motion calling on the government to establish a regulator for the industry.
The government plans to phase out flat-rate bin charges to replace them with a system that includes pay-by-weight.
The government has argued that households will be able to reduce their bills by recycling using green bins and putting food waste in brown bins.
Meanwhile, Minister Dennis Naughton defended the incoming changes to waste collection nationally.
"Emergency measures were needed twice last year to deal with the capacity crisis which was taking place. If emergency measures had not been taken it would not have been possible to have householder’s bins collected. This is an ongoing issue. We need to deal with the problem or we will be in a situation by 2020 where we will have no facilities available to deal with 2 months of waste collection," he said.
"We are also facing challenging EU targets and we need to incentivise households to do the right thing and reduce the amount of residual waste we generate. Failure to meet an existing or future target leaves the State open to infringement proceedings and potentially punitive fines.
"The changes the Government is making to the proposed mandatory per kilo charging system means that there is the potential for more competition in the market.
Minister Naughten said "companies can now offer a range of incentivised pricing options" including:
- per kilo charge
- lift fee and per kilo charge
- weight band charging
- weight allowance plus per kilo surcharge for excess weights