Tuesday 21 January 2020

Thousands forced to dispose of waste in landfills

Paul Melia and Mark O'Regan

THOUSANDS of families have stopped paying their bin charges because of the economic downturn.

Instead of having their bins collected by private companies or county councils, households are taking their waste to landfills and civic amenity sites to save money, a major report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says.

The development came after it emerged yesterday that up to 17,000 low-income families and pensioners in Dublin may be forced to pay to have their bins collected from next month.

Greyhound Recycling and Recovery yesterday called on the Government to subsidise the €2.8m cost of providing the bin-collection service to waiver customers in South Dublin.

The company warned it had "no other alternative" but to charge these customers for the service because it could not subsidise the cost of collection.

Greyhound also collects waste on behalf of Dublin City Council, where 32,000 customers have a waiver. They will have their bins collected until December, after which they may be forced to pay.

But last night the Department of the Environment said Minister Phil Hogan would bring proposals to government before Easter outlining a national waiver scheme.

System

Currently just three councils -- Galway City Council, Kerry County Council and Waterford County Council -- collect waste, and pay for the costs of collection for low-income families.

Private companies collect waste in all other areas, but do not provide a waiver system.

The Programme for Government contains a commitment to introduce a waiver scheme.

"A public consultation designed to inform the (waste) policy development process concluded in September 2011," a department spokesman said.

"The minister expects to be in a position to submit final proposals in relation to household waste collection to Government early this year. The position regarding waivers for low-income households will be among the issues."

The EPA said that the economic downturn had resulted in an increase in the number of households choosing not to avail of a collection service.

Some 266,000 tonnes of waste is "unpresented" for collection, Dr Jonathan Derham said. "The industry will argue that in a lot of cases, a service is available but they don't choose to use it," he said. "There would appear to be a trend of people leaving services because of financial pressures."

Irish Independent

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