Call for privatisation of waste services

WASTE collection services should be privatised across the country as independent companies are better able to recycle waste, a Green councillor has urged.

Following news that Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has been forced out of the market by private waste management collection firm, Panda, Green councillor for south Dublin Tom Kivlehan said private companies are better able to deal with new technology.

And that it would be “better for everyone” if independent firms took over from county councils who are losing huge sums of money on subsidising waste collection.

“Councils take a long time to make decisions too and can’t keep up with the new technology which, in this sector, is changing year to year,” he said.

“Private companies are very quick to react and are profit-driven. So why not give it to those who can do the job best.” Mr Kivlehan also said councils could set strict standards for companies to ensure maximum recycling of rubbish.

Yesterday, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown said it could no longer afford to compete against independent waste management company Panda.

It said an indication of the seriousness of the problem is that 14,400 council customers have arrears in excess of €150. The council also said it will probably lose €10m this year due to subsiding waste management and could no longer continue to provide the service.

The waste company, Panda, entered Dun Laoghaire in 2007 and householders abandoned the council for the cheaper option. The withdrawal could mean any new council waste contractor not being obliged to bring rubbish to the planned Ringsend incinerator. This raises another cloud over the controversial plant, but Dublin City Council said there were no signals it would cause problems.

Panda said it was not surprised at the council’s decision to withdraw from the market.

“It is clear that difficulties in delivering customer service and efficiencies were contributing to an untenable position for the council which was seeing it lose up to €10 million annually,” said a company spokesman.

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