Concern about bin collection
CLLR Joe Behan called for a suspension of standing orders to discuss the government’s position on future pricing of refuse collection and recycling.
Cllr Behan said that an agreed price freeze had come to an end on June 30. ‘As and from now, refuse collection companies can up prices to whatever they want,’ said Cllr Behan. ‘Yet the Government does not seem to know exactly what it wants to do regarding controlling possible escallation of pricing. THe Government is making policty on the hoof. Havingg some kind of watchdog is not strong enough.’
He proposed writing to the minister asking that the price freeze be continued until there is more clarification on how people will be protected.
‘We should also ask for waste collection to come back under public control,’ he said. ‘We don’t have the money, but if the Government decided disposal of waste was an important enough issue, it could be done.’
He said that there is a situation at the moment where in one day, four lorries could go up and down the same street, with no appreciable difference in price.
Cllr Behan said that the letter should also include a request for a waiver scheme for those of limited means, particularly older people.
‘We had a refuse waiver scheme when we had control. For a number of years then we assisted people with the purchase of bags. That was all wiped away with Wicklow County Council and people of limited means are getting no support at all.
Cllr Pat Vance agreed that they should write to the minister. He said that a lot of people said at the time of privatisation that a monopoly would take over, that Greenstar would run the whole system. ‘In actual fact what Cllr Behan said is true, nobody envisaged four trucks coming into one estate.’
He said that the cost to the county of waste disposal was 50 or 60 million euros. ‘A private company came in, bought the land and sold it to Greenstar for a fortune.’ He spoke about the use of incineration rather than landfill to dispose of waste. He said that he had proposed a waiver system years ago and agreed that people need clarity on cost, and that a waiver system should be introduced.
Cllr Oliver O’Brien said that there is too much waste being produced with so much packaging. ‘We were told we’d be working at two-day week by now, and th reason we’re not is so many people working in the packaging industry. We need to look at that or we’ll be working a seven day week. There was no such thing as a rubbish industry in my day.’ He recalled a time of buying biscuits separately and unpackaged, or sweets from a jar.
Cllr Michael O’Connor said that whether there is one waste management company or 40, whether there is a monopoly or not, people are screwed. ‘Prices go up and up and up,’ he said. ‘I absolutely agree with Cllr O’Brien, something has to be done to address the amount of packaging. It’s absolutely disgraceful.’
CLLR Steven Matthews agreed about the packaging. He said that the letter should ask the minister to review the Repak syste to address excessive packaging.
Cathaoirleach Cllr Christopher Fox said that he agreed that a price freeze and a waiver scheme should be requested. He said that taking waste pack into public charge is problematic because of a lack of landfill, and so much going into incineration.
It was agreed that Cllr Joe Behan would prepare a draft letter and send it to the district administrator.
Cllr Pat Vance
Cllr Joe Behan