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Flat-rate waste charges to be scrapped
Frank McDonald, Environment Editor
Local authorities are being told that they must move from flat-rate annual charges for waste management towards a new charging system based on the weight or volume of household waste.
The Minister for the Environment, Mr Cullen, is to announce details of "the nationwide roll-out of new charging systems for household waste or bin collections" at a press briefing in his Department this morning.
The move towards charging for household waste by weight or volume was mentioned by the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, in his speech at the Fianna Fáil ardfheis. It has also been proven successful in a number of trials.
Pre-paid tags for bags are in use by 10 local authorities, while Cork County Council and Monaghan County Council are involved in a pilot project to base household charges on the weight of waste put out for collection.
In both cases, the results have shown a significant reduction in the volume of household waste, and a corresponding increase in recycling. Critics of the annual flat charge say it provides no incentive to reduce waste levels.
In counties Cork and Monaghan, householders covered by the pilot project on weight-based charging have also seen their charges fall. Instead of a flat annual charge, they are billed for the weight of waste put out.
Charges for commercial waste in Dublin and elsewhere are already volume-based, with firms having to buy tags for the black plastic bags they put out on the street. They are also being offered recycling collections.
Under the programme being announced today, local authorities and private sector contractors will have to replace annual charges with either volume or weight-related charges.
The new regime is modelled in part on the 15 cent levy on plastic supermarket bags, which reduced their use by 90 per cent.
© The Irish Times