Government agrees to new system of bin charges

A 'one size fits all' per-kilogramme charging system will not be introduced

Government agrees to new system of bin charges

File photo: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland!

The Cabinet has signed off on a new system of bin charges, which it says will offer more flexibility for customers.

However, ministers have scrapped the minimum charge per kilogram of waste which was agreed a year ago.

Waste collectors will be allowed to offer a range of pricing plans - such as standing, per-lift or per-kilogramme charges, as well as weight-bands or weight allowance charges.

A 'one size fits all' model will not be introduced, and flat-rate charging will be organically phased out as customers renew or enter contracts.

Communications, Climate Action and Environment Minister Denis Naughten says his ultimate goal from the new system is to give households a financial reason to recycle.

He explained: “I'm setting the regulatory environment that allows for as much flexibility as possible, and allows operators to put as many charging regimes in place as possible.

"We are getting rid of the flat-rate charge, because that does not incentivise a reduction in the amount going into landfill."

Minister Naughten's department says brown bins for organic waste will have to be offered for any areas with a population of more than 500 people.

Anyone with long-term medical incontinence, meanwhile, will received €75 in annual support to "meet the average annual cost of disposal of incontinence products".

Responding to the announcement of the proposed charging scheme, the Green Party said it supported 'pay-by-weight' charges - and stressed companies should not be allowed a 'free-for-all' approach when it comes to pricing.

Party leader Eamon Ryan said: "Rather than allowing bin companies a free-for-all, setting their own rates and pitching directly to consumers, they should bid for the contracts to collect in various areas.

"This will be better value for consumers, and ensure it is the public service, rather than profit, that is directing waste policy."

Sinn Féin, meanwhile, warned that the plans put lower-income households at risk.

Environment spokesperson Brian Stanley argued: “We need to have drastic reduction in the volumes of waste produced by industry and at wholesale level.

"This should not be passed onto households to dispose of and these changes introduced do not in any way prevent waste being produced in the first place."