Public must explain waste disposal methods

Householders who do not use authorised waste collectors to take away their domestic rubbish will in future have to explain how they get rid of their waste to council officials or face criminal prosecution.

Legislation designed to crack down on the problem of illegal waste will, from next year, give local authorities the power to ask householders to reveal to them how and where they are dumping their rubbish.

The measure, expected to come into force on July 1, 2016, is likely to be welcomed by the 1.2m existing customers of kerbside waste collectors, most of whom pay annual charges in excess of €200.

It is estimated that around 330,000 households across Ireland may not use one of the authorised methods of disposing of domestic rubbish.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and local authorities around the country have reported increase levels of illegal dumping over the course of recent years. They have also been concerned about the low rates of householder participation in kerbside waste collection in some areas.

However, the problem to date for local authorities is that they had no access to information to allow them to identify individuals who are not customers of bin collectors or other waste disposal facilities.

Although there is no specific legislation which requires householders to sign up for a kerbside waste collection service, they do have an obligation to lawfully dispose of their waste.

Under the Waste Management Act 1996, anyone who fails to properly dispose of their domestic waste is liable for a maximum fine of €3,000 upon conviction at district court level. The legislation also made it illegal for householders to burn their own waste, effectively banning a long tradition of garden bonfires in Ireland.

A new law passed this summer by the Dáil — the Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 — places an onus on waste collection permit holders to provide information to local authorities about their customer databases.

Among those required to pass on such information will be large bin collection firms such as City Bin, Greenstar, Oxigen, Thornton’s, and Panda.


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