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Seagulls feed of waste and rubbish in Dublin.
Seagulls feed of waste and rubbish in Dublin.
Image: Gareth Chaney/Photocall Ireland!

How can we get apartment block residents recycling? The minister says there's no 'simple solution'

The minister said he is open to suggestions as to how apartment dwellers could be encouraged to recycle.
Dec 11th 2016, 7:10 AM 10,327 46

IRELAND IS FACING a waste crisis that could result in rubbish piling up on the streets, according to Environment Minister Denis Naughten.

The country has been smashing the EU targets for recycling, but the minister said we need to do more.

“The reality is we do not have landfill capacity in this country. I have yet to come across a community that is willing to take a landfill around the country,” Naughten told reporters this week.

He says the pay-by-weight bin charges (which he confirmed this week will not be scrapped) will encourage people to create less waste and recycle more.

However, not every household in Ireland has a green bin for recycling. In fact, many of the large-scale apartment blocks around the country, including the capital, have no recycling facilities.

Many apartment dwellers have one household waste bin – and everything – food waste, plastics, glass and even clothes are thrown in. The black bag then finds its way to a large refuse bin in the basement of these apartment blocks, and it will eventually end up in a landfill.

Apartment blocks 

So, under the minister’s new initiatives to reduce Ireland’s waste, will management companies be compelled to supply recycling facilities in apartment blocks? In short, no.

There is an issue in relation to apartment blocks. I don’t have a simple solution in relation to that. I am open to suggestions in relation to how we deal with that specific problem.

The minister said Irish people’s habits have dramatically changed in recent years, but he said improvements need to go further “by reducing the volumes we have going into landfill  that is what this whole process is about, that is the intention behind it [pay-by-weight scheme]“.

Waste management of apartment blocks is “a very complex issue” admitted the minister.

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“Because of the difficult and challenging situation that we have in relation to landfill capacity in this country, it is important that we act now and not have a situation where we have a crisis and have refuse left on the streets because there is nowhere to put it,” he said.

What about people living in apartment blocks? Will they have bin charges?

According to a Department of Environment briefing document, waste produced by apartment occupants is considered household waste and the new household waste collection regulations will apply to apartments.

It’s understood the management company operating the apartment block will be charged on a pay-by-weight basis. How they calculate the waste charge per apartment will be a matter for the management company.

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

Read: There will soon be no cap on the price An Post can charge you for a stamp>

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Christina Finn


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