This was the headline in the Irish Times today which at first glance appeared to suggest that this was a new statement by the minister for the Environment Mr Phil Hogan. In fact this is just a statement by Olivia Kelly of the Times based on a series of proposals Minister Hogan had promised to bring forward to address many problems within the refuse collection / recycling industry.
In addition to these proposals launched last November in the departments long awaited document ” A Resource Opportunity” a public consultation document which closes for entries by the public this Friday, was intended to get all sides of the arguments on how best to segregate and collect waste. Minister Hogan cited in the foreword of his November document that it was essential for refuse collectors to financially incentivise households to segregate their waste, if segregation was going to be fully achieved and land fill diversions realised. However Minister Hogan had no hesitation in lending his support to the launch of City Bin, and its heavily publicized advertising campaign for a flat rate fee for all three bins. City Bin of course is owned by Averda a middle eastern company who have a majority share holding in City Bin who have their headquarters in Ireland, and openly admit to using Ireland as a stepping stone to accessing most of Europe. The EPA, CIWM and DEFRA the UK’s department of environment collectively have expressed serious concerns in the alarming increases of waste being sent from Ireland and the UK abroad namely to Sweden for Incineration / Heat Recovery processes. As if a household does not segregate their waste there is no onus on a refuse collector to do so, and can happily have this mixed waste sent abroad for processing but at a much lower cost than keeping it in Ireland and routing it through its different recycling options.
So yes the headline in the Times today was really encouraging, and it remains to be seen if Mr Hogan will listen to the refuse and recycling industry and bring in much needed legislation to stop this Flat Fee charging system, and give security to the refuse collection companies like AES, Panda and Thornton’s who have invested heavily in infrastructure here in Ireland to recycle our waste, promoting the circular economy and most importantly creating jobs here.