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Flat charges on your bins are to be scrapped

The controversial pay-by-weight scheme has been replaced with this new regime.

Image: RollingNews.ie

FLAT FEE BIN charges are to be scrapped, with the government shaking up the waste charging regime.

The pay-by-weight scheme, which was due to come into place from 1 January, was delayed in the eleventh hour last December amid controversy around bin companies abusing the system.

Some consumers complained they were being hit with 200% increases in their bills.

The debacle resulted in Minister Simon Coveney (who was responsible for the waste collection industry at the time) putting a freeze on bin charges for a period of 12 months.

In December, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten announced there would be a delay in the pay-by-weight scheme as discussions between government officials and the waste industry were ongoing.

Today, Naughten has announced plans for his new scheme which will see the “one-size-fits-all” mandatory, nationwide per-kilogramme charging system scrapped.

He told the Dáil the old scheme was unfair and penalised those that recycled.

Phased out 

The ‘all-in flat rate’ charging for household waste will start to be phased out as customers renew or enter new service contracts. So if your contract is up in August, the new scheme will kick in for you at that time.

Instead, the minister said the customer will be able to control their own bin charges through a number of options.

Under the new arrangement, waste collectors will be given the flexibility to continue to offer, or to introduce, a range of incentivised pricing options to their customers.

These options include the option of standing charges, per-lift, per-kilogramme, weight-bands, as well as weight allowance charges.

Roll-out of brown bins

Naughten said the new charging scheme will encourage recycling.

All waste collectors will be required to start rolling-out food and organic “brown” bins to all localities nationwide with a population greater than 500 people.

The minister said this will help more households reduce the waste they usually throw into their standard black bins. Further consideration will be given to extending ‘brown’ bin coverage in phases to smaller localities, he 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.

“Therefore, I have decided not to impose a compulsory ‘one size fits all’ per-kilogramme charging system on waste collectors,” he said.

In the previous row over bin charges, concerns were raised by those with long-term illness and families about the amount of waste they produce and what they would end up paying.

Medical incontinence

Under the new scheme, annual support of €75 will be introduced for persons with lifelong/long-term medical incontinence.

The minister said this support will help people meet the average annual cost of disposal of incontinence products. Further details will be finalised later this year, said Naughten.

The minister said the amount of waste sent to landfill in Ireland has increased in the last two years.

“It is important to act now to encourage waste reduction to avert a return to an over-dependence on landfill,” said Naughten, adding that Ireland has just four landfill sites remaining. Previously it had 24 landfill sites.

Naughten said the State does not control prices or set prices, but said he can ensure that there is more flexibility regime that will benefit customers

Speaking on RTÉ News this evening, Eamon Ryan from the Green Party said the government should be trying to make it easier to for people to recycle.

He said new recycling initiatives should be introduced, highlighting that his party had proposed a scheme whereby people are paid 10 cent for every plastic bottle they recycle.

Read: How can we get apartment block residents recycling? The minister says there’s no ‘simple solution’>

Read: Pay-by-weight bin charge delayed, but it’s not being scrapped – Minister>

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