New bin charges “will encourage householders to reduce and separate their waste”
By Aura McMenamin
Set-price bin charges are set to be scrapped, with households being given a range of alternative pricing options.
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Denis Naughton announced his department will no longer make Irish customers pay a one ‘size fits all' pricing system.
The ‘pay-by-weight’ scheme for bin charges was frozen for 12 months in December due to uproar over waste collection companies hiking up prices, with some customers saying they had seen a 200 per cent increase in their bills.
Instead, households will be given three separate options or a combination of the three for paying their bin collection charges, with set charges due to be phased out.
These options include the option of standing charges, per-lift, per-kilogramme, weight-bands, as well as weight allowance charges.
Bin collection companies would be able to charge by how many times the bin was lifted. Some bin companies began to charge customers this year for heavy bins which they said was for health and safety reasons.
Customers could also choose to be charged by the standard pay-by-weight system, or they could be given a weight allowance, with an extra charged incurred for every kilogram that goes over the average weight for rubbish.
Customers could also choose a combination of the three methods.
The idea is that households will be encouraged to separate and recycle their waste more frequently to avoid paying charges.
The minister said: “Allowing for a range of charging options, which most consumers are already familiar with, will encourage householders to reduce and separate their waste while choosing the service-price offering that best suits their circumstances and allows them manage their costs.”
Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast on Wednesday, Naughton said that customers can ‘shop around’ on the market for a deal that best fits them, based on a ‘user profile’ of their waste disposal.
However, the Green Party leader Eamonn Ryan has been critical of these measures.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, the TD said that forcing people to ‘shop around’ wouldn’t serve people living in areas with only one collection service.
He said: “Leaving consumers at the grips of companies that have an effective monopoly, I don’t think it’s fair.”
He said the Green Party was in favour of a system whereby local authorities would set standards of collection and tender the service. According to Ryan, companies would bid for the service and costs would be lower.
Local Green Party councillor for Rathfarnham Francis Duffy said that the current bin collection system ‘is a mess’’.
He said: “The decision to take these services away from local councils never should have happened. It’s an unfair system on the consumer. I’ve heard of people charged twice; once for the pick up and another for the collection.”
He also noted that a lot of food packaging is non-recyclable, meaning that people were forced to put non compostable packaging into their black bins.
According to the Department of the Environment, waste collectors will be required to start rolling-out food/organic “brown” bins to all localities nationwide with a population greater than 500 people. This will help more households divert waste away from their standard black bins. Further consideration will be given to extending ‘brown’ bin coverage in phases to smaller localities.
An annual support of €75 will be introduced for persons with lifelong/long-term medical incontinence. This support will help people meet the average annual cost of disposal of incontinence products The details and arrangements of this support will be finalised later this year, after further consultation with the stakeholder groups.
In support of the new arrangements, the three Regional Waste Management Planning Offices will implement an information and awareness campaign in the third quarter of the year