The Government has said a new pay-by-weight bin system for households will be in place by the middle of next year, once agreement is reached with waste companies.
Environment Minister Denis Naughten has insisted that the new system, designed to reduce waste, is still on track to be introduced by the middle of next year.
It was agreed at Cabinet yesterday that a dual billing system, where households could opt to use pay-by-weight, would not be tried in January, as was envisaged.
Instead, further talks are needed between the Government and bin providers, so the new system of billing can be agreed.
Speaking at Government Buildings, Mr Naughten emphatically denied that the pay-by-weight bin system was being scrapped. Opponents, though, claimed it was a victory for protesters.
Housing Minister Simon Coveney, who had looked after waste under his portfolio, introduced a 12-month price freeze for bin charges this year to allow a new pricing regime to be agreed.
Mr Naughten outlined why the new system of billing would not go ahead yet.
“People will continue to pay as they had paid in December, January, and February, right up until June,” he said.
“However, they would [have] also got a second invoice that would reflect what they would pay under the pricing regime. We haven’t agreed the new pricing regime, so there isn’t much point in introducing an invoicing regime that reflects a pricing regime that hasn’t been agreed with the industry.”
Taoiseach Enda Kenny also told the Dáil that there would be a regime for everybody, to reduce the extent of waste being put out, and the Government was not abandoning the pay-by-weight system planned.
Efforts to reduce waste in households would continue, said Mr Naughten, with a fresh campaign in the New Year. This would involve encouraging more segregation of waste, he said, adding that there was also a huge problem with a lack of landfill space.
The “opt-in” to pay-per-kilogramme charges by waste collectors is now being deferred.
It had been planned that under the dual billing system, people would be allowed six months to monitor the changes and opt into the new scheme.
Mr Coveney had originally ordered the price freeze with collectors after some firms began increasing service charges in order to make up for any losses through savings by households. The Government yesterday said this price freeze would remain in place while the talks continue on a new system for invoicing and pay-by-weight collections.
However, AAA-PBP TD Brid Smith said the changed deadline was a win for anti-bin charge protesters.
The Green Party criticised the delay in introducing the more environmentally friendly billing system.
Mr Naughten said households could reduce their waste costs by increasing the use of brown food bins and green recycling bins.
The Government wants households to reduce their black-bin usage, because of limited landfill capacity, as well as to help meet EU landfill waste targets.
Mr Naughten said he expects to come back to the Government with new arrangements when the pricing regime review is completed early next year.
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