Waste Collection must be recognised as a vital public service

03 July 2017

Labour spokesperson on Dublin, Senator Kevin Humphreys has called on the Government to indefinitely postpone the roll out of new waste rules until a strong regulator and waiver are in place for low income families, along with a plan to restore responsibility for waste collection to local authorities.

The Labour Party believes there are four conditions that must be met, including a waiver scheme for low income families, strong regulation, competition for the market, and roadmap for local authorities to provide bin collection, before any move to standardise national rules is advanced any further.

Senator Humphreys said:

“A wild west has developed in the waste collection market with no proper regulation or any transparency on fees for the public. New rules should not be brought in while this is still the case.

“For a number of years I have been calling for strong regulation to ensure that rules are followed, and that the public have an avenue to make complaints, and that waste companies are held to account. Thankfully local councillors were able to bring in by-laws to ensure that pick up days would be standardised across Dublin. It’s now time for national action.

“Waste collection is an essential public service, with knock on impacts on our environment, health and safety.

“The Labour Party believes that the proposed new rules from the Government should be postponed indefinitely until a robust public policy and legislative framework is put in palce.

The framework should include:

1. A waiver scheme for low income families, not just those with medical waste.

2. Strong regulation to oversee waste collection across local authorities in Ireland with enforcement through local authorities.

3. Immediate introduction of competition for the market, ensuring waste companies would bid to collect waste in a specific area, rather than having multiple companies overlapping. This would be overseen by the regulator and contracts would include the requirement to provide a waiver scheme for low income families, as well as a requirement to engage in collective bargaining with staff.

4. A roadmap for restoring responsibility for bin collection to local authorities. As a first step, local authorities should be required to bid for contracts in each area as each license expires, and a timeline for bringing these services back within local authority control should be established.

“We can’t afford to have another year of uncertainty in our waste collection service, where people are subject to non-transparent charges and price gouging. The Irish people have shown their ability to reduce, reuse and recycle. We must ensure that the structures are there now to strengthen that, and support the increased use of green and brown bins.”

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