Saturday 18 November 2017

Recycling changes mean bin charges will rise

Rubbish at Ballybough Road in Dublin earlier this year
Rubbish at Ballybough Road in Dublin earlier this year
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

HOUSEHOLDERS will be hit with higher bin charges under new plans aimed at improving recycling rates.

The Government plans to roll out the pay-per-weight system across the country to encourage more people to segregate paper, plastics and food from general household waste and reduce the amount being sent to landfill, the Irish Independent has learned.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan will today announce changes to the household waste collection system which will also oblige people to register on a national database so officials can check they are properly disposing of their waste.

He is also considering whether people who refuse to register should be hit with fines.

The changes will be announced today at a waste summit in Croke Park, where Mr Hogan will set out a series of proposed changes to collection services.

A consultation paper to be published this afternoon also plans to impose more regulations on the industry, amid concerns that operators are hiking up prices with no justification.

In his speech, Mr Hogan says he is "not convinced" that customers are getting the best service possible from some operators, and that increases in landfill charges were being passed onto customers.

LANDFILLS

However, he also says that many householders are not availing of a collection service, refuse to recycle and simply dump all their household waste into black bins which are sent to landfills.

A study commissioned by the Department of the Environment says that charging customers on the basis of the amount of waste disposed of in black bins is the most effective system for changing behaviour.

If 80pc of households paid on the basis of how much black bin waste they produced, some 446,000 tonnes of landfill waste would be avoided every year.

Irish consumers currently recycle 65pc of their waste.

A consultation paper also asks if the green bin for paper and plastics should continue to be free, and sets out minimum standards for operators.

Companies will have to have customer charges in place, but it also says householders must also demonstrate they manage their waste in an "environmentally acceptable manner".

Separately, Mr Hogan plans changes to how electronic waste is collected and processed, with one standard across the industry. A charge for disposing of the waste may also be re-introduced to help fund recycling.

An eight-week public consultation process begins today, with submissions due by the end of next January.

Irish Independent

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