Scale of bin charge rises a mystery

Households are facing increased bin charges — but no-one can say by how much.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed the price hike yesterday, but waste collection companies are remaining tight-lipped on what exactly customers will have to pay once the new framework for charges begins on Saturday.

Flat-rate payments for bin collections are set to be phased-out in favour of new pay-by-weight and ‘per lift’ charges in a bid to cut the amount of landfill waste produced by households.

Waste collection companies have yet to reveal how much its services will cost under the new regime — adding to fears that the new framework will see bin charges rise significantly.

When contacted yesterday, waste management companies and industry heads could not, or would not, say what the increases would be.

  • Greenstar said it had yet to announce its charges;
  • Country Clean acknowledged this newspaper’s queries, but did not respond at time of going to print;
  • Wiser did not reply at time of going to print;
  • The Irish Waste Management Association, which says its members account for 75% of the household waste collected in Ireland, said it did not have a spokesperson available to comment;
  • The Southern Waste Region, representing 10 local authorities, said households “will have to contact the service provider to check on their future charges as all systems vary just as all household composition and household waste management vary greatly.”

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald led criticisms over the new waste regime, warning families would now pay more for their bins and that the new Varadkar administration had arrived at “destination privatisation”.

“Citizens struggling with the cost of living crises in mortgages, rents, child care, water charges, the property tax and car insurance will be hit once again,” she said.

“The new charging model will also impact on small businesses and the farming community, with the prospect of illegal dumping rising across the State.

“Nowhere within the new model has the Government provided meaningful alleviation measures for the most vulnerable, including those with medical conditions, large families and low income households.”

However, Mr Varadkar disagreed. Families would have different bill types and the new system was not being rushed, he insisted. The new billing system was needed to save the environment, he said.

Flat-rate charges will now be phased out from Saturday for all new customers. Existing customers will have to agree new rates once existing contracts expire or when new contracts are entered into. Around half the country already avail of different charging regimes, including combinations of standing charges, per lift and per kilogramme charges, weight bands and weight allowances, the Dáil heard.

However, the Taoiseach admitted some bills could go up: “It is the case that some people will face a rise in bills. This will often be where private providers are providing a service below cost.”

He also reiterated that there would be a grant of €75 for families with medical conditions, such as needs for incontinence pads or sheets. Furthermore, there would be additional funds for local authorities to crack down on illegal dumping as well as an education and information campaign for the public.

There would also be a requirement that all waste collectors introduce organic brown bins to communities nationwide with a population of more than 500.

The Government is hoping the move to pay-by-weight will increase household recycling levels by up to 30% and divert up to 35% more waste from landfill.

The introduction of the new framework was delayed by a year, having been suspended last June following concerns that waste management companies were increasing their charges in anticipation of the new regime.

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