Thursday 19 July 2018

Council urged to clarify its policy on waste recycling

Councillor told it was not 'cost efficient' to take commercial waste at Mallow amenity site

Bill Browne

The guidelines for recycling commercial waste at the Mallow civic amenity site needs to be reviewed after it emerged a contractor was refused permission to drop off a load of waste at the site because accepting it would not be "cost efficient".

That's the view of Cllr Melissa Mullane (SF) who raised the issue at the May meeting of Cork County Council's Kanturk/Mallow area meeting, saying she could not understand how the situation was allowed to arise.

Cllr Mullane said that initially the contractor, who had been trying to dispose of a load cardboard, was not even given a reason as to why he could not leave it for recycling at the Mallow site. 

"He was willing to pay the €40 charge but was told 'sorry we are not taking it' and told to go to another place in Mallow, which is not a recycling facility, to dispose of the cardboard," said Cllr Mullane. 

She said she raised the issue with County Hall and was told that it was not cost efficient to take commercial waste at €40 per load.

"We have been telling people they can pay €40 to recycle commercial waste in Mallow and now I am told that they don't like doing so because it is not commercially viable. We need to clarify the position on this and if we intend to take commercial loads at the Mallow site again," she said.

"We are offering a public service and not all public services need to be, or indeed should be, cost efficient," she said.  

Cllr Gearoid Murphy (FF) backed his council colleague, saying that it was important it was made as easy as possible for contractors to recycle commercial waste.  He was concerned that confusion over the issue could lead to commercial waste being dumped illegally, which would cost more for the council to clean up and cause damage to the environment.  

"It is hard to put a price on the environment, so clarity is needed here," he said. 

A point also made by Cllr John Paul O'Shea (FG) who said this also applied to certain domestic waste, citing an instance where a person was told they could not leave an old mattress at the Mallow site for recycling because that, too, was not deemed to be cost effective.

"The problem then is that mattresses may be dumped illegally and it is then impossible to trace who left them there," said Cllr O'Shea. 

"As public representatives we have a duty to ensure people are able to recycle both commercial and domestic waste in the proper manner and that we do not have mattresses or any other waste dumped by the side of the road," he added.