People Before Profit: Waste companies "must allow" for some contamination in bins

Some customers say they have received fines for a teabag or a couple of biscuits in their recycling bins

People Before Profit: Waste companies "must allow" for some contamination in bins

Nicola McHugh and Bríd Smith. Image: Sean Defoe

People Before Profit says there must be room for a 'certain level of contamination' when it comes to incorrect waste in bins.

A number of people say they have received fines from waste companies for as little as having a teabag or a couple of biscuits in their green recycling bin.

Greyhound have issued €30 fines to customers in Dublin - and warned their bins will be removed if contamination continues. However, the company has insisted that "nobody is presented with a surcharge for having a single teabag in their green bin".

Concerns have been raised that customers cannot be responsible for what happens to bins while they are out on public roads.

People Before Profit say it is an example of waste companies acting like cartels.

At a press conference today, PBP TD Bríd Smith argued: "Companies must allow for a certain level of contamination. They have to do that, because otherwise you don't allow for the human error stuff."

Dublin City Councillor John Lyons, meanwhile, said people cannot watch their bins all day.

He observed: "Where does the responsibility lie? If a private waste operator isn't going to collect the bin as they say they will early in the morning, and they leave it for 10-12 hours... then that just opens it up to the potential that bins are going to be contaminated."

"Fair usage policy"

In a statement this afternoon, Greyhound said nobody is charged a surcharge for a single teabag in a green bin.

The company says: "Greyhound, like many other waste companies, operates a fair usage policy whereby householders who persistently present contaminated green bins are presented with a surcharge. Only bins that are consistently heavy over a long period are selected for monitoring.

"The householder is then informed in writing that their green bin is being monitored and are provided with ample time to change the way they segregate their waste. When their bins are checked and are found to be contaminated, pictures are taken and a surcharge is issued. The householder is then given 14 days to appeal."

The company says that for every 100 tonnes of waste for recycling, 40% consists of "faeces covered nappies, rotten food and garden waste". When that is the case, the whole bin-load can not be recycled.

Greyhound also shared images of the sort of waste it finds in green bins:

The issue of waste charges has proven a major talking point in recent weeks amid the announcement of a new bin charging regime.

It was also revealed earlier this month that Panda Waste customers can be fined anything from €10 to €25 for putting waste in the incorrect bin.

Reporting by Sean Defoe and Stephen McNeice