Independent Media Centre Ireland

Flat-rate waste charges to be scrapped

category national | bin tax / household tax / water tax | news report author Monday March 22, 2004 11:48author by Lorraine

Time for a National Campaign

I know this is a cut and paste from the IT but 1. it is pay per view and 2. it is important.

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

Comments (21 of 21)

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author by Fingal Anti Bin Tax Campaignpublication date Mon Mar 22, 2004 13:54author address author phone

Fingal Anti Bin Tax Campaign

Bin Tax:
· Cullen’s pay by Weight Designed to Fool Householders

· Minister’s Attempts To Remove The Bin Tax As A Local Election Issue Will Not Succeed

Cllr. Ruth Coppinger (Secretary, FABTC)
Cllr. Clare Daly (Chair, FABTC)

Minister Martin Cullen’s announcement this morning, telling local authorities to change to a pay-by-weight or volume system for waste collection is a cynical move.

Pretending that this will slash waste collection costs to the householder, he hopes to remove the bin tax as an issue in the Local Elections. He will not succeed.

The pay-by-weight system allows for a basic flat charge on top of which a charge per unit of waste is levied. This flat charge can be raised by the local authorities as relentlessly as the existing flat charges and become the same burden as the existing system.

Furthermore, local authorities can set any price they wish on a unit of waste and this can also rise each year.

Mr. Cullen’s pretence that this will definitely reduce the burden of bin taxes on householders is false.

The pay by volume system simply means that a tag must be bought when a bin is put out for collection. The tag could be €5 or it could be €20 and therefore, local authorities or private waste collectors can charge what they wish.

There is nothing in today’s announcement by the Minister for the Environment that changes the Government’s intention to impose, in essence, a new tier of local taxation that can reach €1,000 per year per household, through increasing waste charges and the reintroduction of water charges. We will ensure that these issues are highlighted on the agenda for the Local Election Campaign.

The Alternative

The Environmental Protection Agency found that only 15% of what goes to landfill is accounted for by households. This can still be dramatically reduced in the following ways:

· Measures to be implemented to radically reduce waste at source e.g. in retail outlets;

· Separation, recycling and reuse facilities to be made easily accessible to all communities, especially by door-to-door collections;

· Bye laws can then be introduced requiring that no recyclables go into the grey or black bin going to landfill.

These measures could reduce waste by 80% and not introduce any bin tax burden on households.

Local authorities should be adequately funded by Government to provide these services. This would cost only a fraction of the €634 million which the Government is giving back each year from now on to big business through reduction in corporation tax.

author by weightypublication date Mon Mar 22, 2004 14:39author address author phone

"· Measures to be implemented to radically reduce waste at source e.g. in retail outlets"

-Please expand on what you mean here. If you are suggesting that the outlet should pay, will the consumer not simply burden the cost through price rises etc.? Yes, There should be some facilities for waste disposal at shopping centres but do you honestly see any supermarket having the space/resources for a fully fledged waste facility on-site?

"Bye laws can then be introduced requiring that no recyclables go into the grey or black bin going to landfill."

- Is this realsitic? How can it be enforced? Isnt legislation a bit of a lump hammer in behavioural change - sounds like a waste-police state.

"These measures could reduce waste by 80% and not introduce any bin tax burden on households."

- nice percentage but where did you pull that from?

we need real alternatives and an integrated approach. No simple half-arsed job at appeasing the largest amount of voters.

author by Mikepublication date Mon Mar 22, 2004 15:40author address author phone

The reality is that "ideology" does not change reality. In attempting to affect "what happens" ALL the humans whose behavior must change need to be taken into account. Thus.........

1) Those who cause to come into existence the excess packaging/waste need to be discouraged from doing so >

2) Those at the disposing end need to be encouraged to recycle and discouraged from simply pitching everything mixed together "because it's less bother". To that end it makes sense to BOTH make recyling as easy as possible and to penalize lareg volume of "mix trash". >

A GOOD program would make the "per toss" charge such that a CAREFUL family need pay nothing > That might seem far too little to you, one free toss a month, and I might be way off because I don't know how bad YOUR packaging situation is compared to ours (here in the US). But we here are supposedly the worst in the world in that regard and speaking from personal experience, here at Step by Step we mange just one bag every 2 months or so. THAT means being VERY careful, both in purchasing and taking the time to really separate -- "silly" things like peeling apart packaging made of cardboard and plastic so that the cardboard can go in this recycle bin and the plastic in that one. Washing out glass jars and plastic containers that food came in, etc.

author by Sinn Féinpublication date Mon Mar 22, 2004 15:40author address author phone

Sinn Féin candidate for the European Elections in Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has welcomed Minister Martin Cullen to the 'real world' following his decision to introduce a 'pay-by-use' scheme for waste collection. However while welcoming the announcement as a vindication of one of the key arguments against the Bin Charges, Ms McDonald pointed out that "the Bin Charges remain an unfair way of paying for waste collection. Charges like these have crippled working class households across Dublin as they have increased year after year." Sinn Féin has played a key role in opposing the Bin Charges in Dublin over the last number of years with party members imprisoned for their part in the protests.

Ms McDonald said: "One of the problems we had with the Bin Charges from the start was the ham-fisted fashion in which the Government introduced them, with different systems existing in different areas. The flat rate currently existing in many parts of the country, including Dublin, does nothing to encourage recycling. It vindicates one of the arguments those of us opposed to the Charges have been putting forward from day one and I welcome Minister Cullen to the real world.

"But while welcoming the fact that the pay-by-use scheme will now be used across the state, the Bin Charges remain an unfair way of paying for waste collection. Charges like these have crippled working class households across Dublin as they have increased year after year and the recycling infrastructure in place is wholly insufficient.

"The notion that the charges are true to the principle of Polluter Pays is another lie from this Government. Who are the polluters? The people who put out a bag of rubbish a week, most of which is unnecessary packaging from manufacturers? People who provide less than two million tonnes of waste a year? Or is it the well over 70 million tonnes produced by industry, large-scale agriculture and big business.

"If the Government is serious about recycling and protecting the environment, it can begin by providing proper recycling facilities, instead of standing idly by while the IGB glass recycling facility, the only one in the state, was shut down. It can turn away from incineration and City Council's proposals to build a massive incinerator in Ringsend and adopt a progressive waste management strategy as outlined in Sinn Féin's Waste Management Charter."

author by SFliespublication date Mon Mar 22, 2004 16:17author address author phone

"Sinn Féin has played a key role in opposing the Bin Charges in Dublin over the last number of years with party members imprisoned for their part in the protests"


SF have palyed a disgraceful role in opposing the bin tax. Rememebr it was SF councillor MArk Daly that paid his own bin tax and urged others to do likewise. On the ground, on the demos and at the blockades SF were not there. As for their members being jailed, that again is another LIE, one SF member went to jail, she did this against the wishes of her party. 6 SP members were jailed, 1 SWPer, 2 ISN and the rest were activists not in any party

author by Time keeperpublication date Mon Mar 22, 2004 16:21author address author phone

Jeez the puppies are getting slow!!!

author by The Countpublication date Mon Mar 22, 2004 16:29author address author phone

Are you sure?
I can count Mick ,Fionn, David, Joe and Clare.
Who else?
How many waiver signers?

author by Januspublication date Mon Mar 22, 2004 17:19author address author phone

The great thing about posts on Indymedia is the rational, open political debate on issues. Such as 'THIS IS FUCKING BULLSHIT.'

I haven't been keeping score on which parties sent the most people to prison, which by the way is pathetic in the first place, and I have often stated that Sinn Fein's role in opposing the Bin Tax was not what it should have been, but while Mark Daly paid it and said it was 'just like any other bill' none of their TDs or ther councillors are paying it.

I regularly saw SF people at demonstrations and pickets outside City Hall, sometimes the demos seemed to be all they turned up to I might point out and they were missing at other times when their help would have been appreciated.

To pretend that SF did nothing on the Bin Tax is as stupid and false as it is would be for them to claim they ran the whole thing, which they're not claiming. They say they played a key role, and considering they have a better voting record on the issue than any other party except the SP, most of their elected reps refuse to pay, they were at a lot of the demos and meetings, I think they can say it in all honesty.

They're not claiming the SP and SWP did nothing (Both parties doing far more than the Shinners), but they are claiming they were involved, and in some areas they did play a key role, while in others they did not. As to why they should play a key role in what now seems to have been little other than a launchpad for electoral challenges from the SWP/SP, that's for other people to make the case.

author by hs - sppublication date Mon Mar 22, 2004 17:51author address author phone

I'm with you. Think its probably time to give up. I had a read of the anti war report and it turns out that Joe Higgins supports the westies!!! (whatever that has to do with the war,) Not to mention other nonesical debates like this one. I like indymedia but where I used to go on most days now its maybe once a week and getting less. Seems to have turned more into a thing for group fights whether that be sp swp sf or anarchist. The facts seem to be secondary to point scoring. And political beliefs comes third somewhere.

author by bfpublication date Mon Mar 22, 2004 17:59author address author phone

I agree, the preoccupancy of the so called "LEFT" to attack Sinn Fein while FF are left unscathed amazes and saddens me, time to get out of UCD and into the real world. Call yourself an activist- don’t make me laugh!

author by The Countpublication date Mon Mar 22, 2004 18:05author address author phone

uno - Joe
due - Clare
tre - Mick
quattro - Fionn
cinque - David
sei - ?

author by Andrewpublication date Mon Mar 22, 2004 18:11author address author phone

The problem here is that the main responsibility for a lot of the trolling here lies with the same groups that are 'victims' of it. Above we have an obvious example of an SP puppy trolling anti-SF stuff. On another thread we have an obvious SFer trolling anti-SP stuff followed by retaliation in kind. And sometimes it goes between SP and LP supporters.

So rather than complaining about being a victim of such trolling and going on about how it ruins indymedia it would be better to recognise that 'the main enemy is at home'. That is to forget about trollers in other parties and concentrate on getting those in your own party to shut up. 80% of the (left) trolling here clearly comes from members of 3 parties. There are also a few independants but even they are often trolling in response to the activities of members of these parties.

So how about it?

author by Chekovpublication date Mon Mar 22, 2004 18:32author address author phone

Despite the best efforts of our trolling friends, the numbers of visitors to indymedia keep going up. In the last 10 days, the number of distinct visitors to the site has jumped from a stable 6,000 to about 13,000 a week. Sunday was one of the busiest days ever.

author by R Isiblepublication date Mon Mar 22, 2004 19:22author address author phone

It could be just some fool with time on their hands or someone with a disruptive agenda. The solution for the disenchanted such as "hs sp" is to write more original content. Don't complain about the media, be the media. Swamp out trolling with fresh, original content.

author by Dec Martinpublication date Mon Mar 22, 2004 21:03author address author phone

. . . publicity no matter how negative. Irish Sunday Mirror Doubles IMC readership overnight - now there's a headline.

By the way ken Murray is an incompetent lying probably into coke and crisps with his mate BOC Journalist. Now that it's in a comment on this leaky website it must be true. ;-)

He aint too bright either and all his mates are cops and politicians.

My guess is his source was McDowell. It is only a guess.

McDowell says today that bush visit will cause no threat from al Q but expected significant trouble on mayday.

A strange comment to say the least.

So is the fact that an unspectacular journalist like ken Murray gets an indepth briefing from a government minister to create a front page scare story (that is so wildly sensationalistic, inaccurate and manipulative) about something that to the 'Actual' 'Irish' media is not a story.

Several tamed journos have been noted by me to be pushing this line on various radio shows also - 'Mayday could be a big mess'.

What is michael planning? Now there's the question. Lots of riot training (for the army) going on in the curragh over the last while.

Does Michael want to create sufficient threat in the public mind so as to justify the army being deployed on to the streets for mayday? Army deployment sure worked for them on the whole shannon thing last year - when the army appeared the protests disappeared. W all saw the combat ready troops outside Govt Buildings, we all saw them at Shannon protecting the american army from a disorganised rabble of peaceniks.

It is also interesting to note that the two spectacular pieces of disinformation - two sunday cover stories written by obvious hacks - were published in British Owned publications.

Finally it is also worth noting that Michael McDowell is an admitted reader of - a main source for both front pages.

Michael if you're reading this - there are WWWAAAYYYY scarier things in this world than the wombles and you would be better off keeping an eye on them for us than looking around here for a threat that isn't actually here.

Don't send out the army mick - you'll make us out to be a tinpot dictatorship and damage Irelands image in the eyes of the world on Global TV.

And Dublin Chamber of Commerce wouldn't like that - would they?

author by Observerpublication date Tue Mar 23, 2004 10:35author address author phone

And you lot accuse Martin Cullen of electioneering!!!!!!!! Why doesn't Janus ask the four Dublin City Council councillors (a) who is the one who paid his waste charge ?(b) who is the one who availed of the waiver scheme ? (c) did the other two get a bill at all ? And on a personal note of interest, what ever happened to Shergar, Nicky ?

author by Count Binulapublication date Tue Mar 23, 2004 12:05author address author phone

Served time in prison over the bin charges in Cork and Finian Smith from Tallaght is a former member of Militant and still a close supporter of SP. So that makes six I make it.
Oh and Dermot Connolly resigned from the SP after coming out of jail so I guess that makes seven :)

author by Trojanpublication date Tue Mar 23, 2004 13:48author address author phone

Now how about listing those leading SP members, including two full timers, who received a legal communication from Dublin City Council on foot of the blockade of Collins Ave and subsequently gave an undertaking not to engage in blokades. This is a fact that can be checked under the Freedom of Information Act with Dublin City Council.

The problem with this is not necessarily with making such agreements, there may after all have been good tactical reasons to do so. The real problem is that when the story emerged the SP denied it on indymedia and elsewhere. This gave rise to the impression that certain SP members were not inclined to go to jail either because they believed themselves to be too important or else because they were simply afraid to go. Alternatively it could indicate a fear that to admit it would leave them open to charges of abandoning the campaign at that stage.

How about an honest answer from the SP on this issue starting with an acknowledgement of the truth.

author by Count Binulapublication date Tue Mar 23, 2004 14:35author address author phone

Matthew Waine, John Daniel and Alan Lee who were among the Blachardstown activists who refused to give an undertaking and expected to be jailed but were let off on a technicality.
Paul Murphy gave an undertaking for personal reasons at that stage but has been in the thick of it in South Dublin since.

The morning being refered to in Collins Avenue there was a small blocade comprising of SP members, WCA members and a few activists from Finglas. Other activists including ISN members and Joe Higgins who had been jailed stood on the pavement to avoid rearrest and a seriously longer jail sentences which is fair enough, they had done their bit. There is photographic evidence of this blockade. No Shinners or Swimmers were around.

The names of the SP and WCA people and activists were taken. The SP members whose names were taken were Kevin McLoughlin, Michael O'Brien, Stephen Boyd and Donal Greene. WCA members had their names taken as well.
Stephen, Michael, Donal and the WCA activists were written to by Dublin City seeking an undertaking of no more protests. Council. Kevin McLoughlin wasn't written to. The letters arrived around the same time as the people in Tallaght had been jailed with minimal publicity and the unions gone into hiding at that stage. By then each jailing was having less of an effect then the previous, provoking a discussion regarding the effectiveness of sending more people in, especially people from outside the local authority area: O'Brien (Swords), Greene (Bayside), Boyd (Cork). It was clear that the corpo were seeking to single out people from outside the area to paint a false picture of outside agitators. If it was just those comrades and the WCA people jailed we had to factor in the prospect of the communities and unions been mobilised. All by the way while giving written undertakings were at further protests in Fingal.

The point here is not Greene, Boyd and O'Brien (that makes one full timer versus the four that either went to jail or were prepared to) or WCA members were too important to go to jail but that the amount of legal skirmishes SP members got into clearly demonstrates that Sinn Fein and the SWP with a handful of exceptions steered clear of blockades full stop. And by the way the point of the excercise was effective blockades not jailing figures and had SF and SWP put in the same effort as SP, WCA (whose members also gave an undertaking on foot of Collins Ave) and ISN to mobilise people from their respective communities the blockades would have been far stronger.

author by Anarcho manpublication date Tue Mar 23, 2004 14:40author address author phone

Sounds plausable to me but don't forget the WSM who also endorsed militant blockading.

If and when blanket non collection begins in Dublin City can we get an undertaking from all the parties and groups that they will build for effective blockades??

author by Non-allignedpublication date Tue Mar 23, 2004 18:22author address author phone

"By then each jailing was having less of an effect then the previous, provoking a discussion regarding the effectiveness of sending more people in"

With whom was this discussion provoked, don't seem to remember it coming up at any Dublin city meetings.

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