Flat-fee refuse charges scrapped in bid to increase recycling rates

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten has announced that the mandatory pay-by-weight scheme is to be abandoned and flat fee charges are to be scrapped.

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

Under the new scheme, waste collectors will be given the flexibility to continue to offer, or to introduce a range of pricing options to their customers which the government is hopefully will incentivise recycling.

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

All 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 to ‘brown’ bins; used for the collection of all your household food waste.

Further consideration will be given to extending ‘brown’ bin coverage in phases to smaller localities.

Commenting on the announcement, Minister Naughten stated: “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.”

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

The amount of waste sent to landfill has increased in the last two years. In 2016, there was insufficient capacity to dispose of residual waste and emergency powers were invoked by the regulatory authorities to make additional landfill capacity available.

The Minister believes it is important to act now to encourage waste reduction to avert a return to an over-dependence on landfill, and that an incentivised pricing structure for household waste collection is an important measure in this regard.

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.

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