Why do bin firms have Government over a barrel in demanding additional subsidies

06 July 2024

Responding to the latest reports by the Irish Independent about the demands bin collectors have made of Government, Labour Senator Marie Sherlock said there are very serious questions for Government.

Senator Sherlock said:

“We see the Department of Environment effectively capitulating to the bin collectors and the Irish Waste Management Association in stating both in correspondence and in the Dáil, that it would make sure there was no impact from the introduction of deposit return scheme on the cost of waste collection.

“We also learn that the Government have already offered a subsidy but that this has been spurned as being too low.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that on foot of the introduction of the really good deposit return scheme that the State should be forced to bail out the bin collectors for their losses.

“It’s an absolute waste of public money when it could otherwise be used to substantially improve investment into waste management in our communities through the likes of shared collection points and more free recycling.

“The reality is that these companies have Government over a barrel.

“There are a very small number of very large bin companies who can effectively dictate waste collection prices in many urban areas. We know that small companies are struggling for survival, with many bought over by the bigger companies with the total number of bin companies falling across the country over the past decade.

“This means bigger companies are effectively undertaking an important community and public service in waste collection and being able to call the shots to Government if their profit margins are affected by any positive initiatives to reduce overall waste or increase recycling.

“What makes this situation even more perverse is that many of the companies involved are unlimited companies who do not have to publish their annual returns.

“What we do know is that their parent companies make very handsome profits.

“In 2020, Beauparc, the parent of Greenstar and Panda, made a net profit of €34.5m, an annual jump of 23.5% before being sold off for a reported €1bn the following year to Macquarie, the Australian financial services giant.

“The State does not owe these companies their profits. Serious questions have to be asked if State subsidies for recycling are effectively going to serve the profit margin of non transparent companies headquartered abroad.

“It’s high time we saw a review and overhaul of the waste management system in this country.”

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