Tuesday, 29 November 2016
Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
678. To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if there is anything prohibiting local councils from continuing to grant licences to small pay-by-bag domestic waste collectors while he is examining the future of pay-by-weight regulations following the suspension of their introduction by him earlier this year; and if he will consider the position of small pay-by-bag operators that currently operate in parts of rural Ireland when reviewing the pay-by-weight regulations. [37642/16]
It is widely recognised that there are difficulties associated with the collection of household waste in bags, including:
- littering caused by ripped bags;
- health and safety issues for collectors, where sharp objects are placed in bags;
- litter caused by fly-tipping on streets/areas, where bag collections take place;
- little or no segregation of recyclable or food waste; and
- inability to gather data on waste collected for statistical and environmental reporting purposes.
As a result of such issues, I am aware of at least one local authority which has already (through bye-laws) removed the option for householders to present household waste in bags for collection.
With the above in mind, a decision was taken in April 2015 to phase-out the use of bags for household waste collection, where ‘wheelie bins’ could be accommodated.
The Department, in consultation with local authorities, has set criteria to be applied nationally with a view to phasing out bags, with the exception of areas where it is not practical to use ‘wheelie bins’. Local authorities have been requested to designate areas as not being suitable for wheelie bin collections (i.e. designate areas which should remain on bag collections) and are working through this process.
In brief, the criteria for undertaking the exercise to designate ‘bag collection areas’ are as follows:
- No space within the boundary of the property (front, rear or side) to store 3 bins.
- Physical features which make it difficult to move a bin to the front edge of the property or nearest boundary for presentation, e.g. steep gradient and or steps (the advice of a Roads Engineer should be sought) or that would present an unreasonable difficulty.
- The area (e.g. street) is too narrow for a refuse collection vehicle to access properties and the nearest Designated Collection Point or suitable presentation point is greater than 100m from the property (again, the advice of a Roads Engineer should be sought on this issue).
- Where the Local Authority is notified of exceptional circumstances by a householder / resident and the Local Authority certifies same.
Many local authorities have now completed the process of designating areas where bag collections may continue, if applicable, and can be contacted for further information.