The updated regulatory system called ‘A Resource Opportunity,’ introduces new standards of service, prompting waste contractors to be more transparent about their charging structures.

The government hopes that the move will enable households and businesses to draw more direct comparisons between waste contractors, allowing them more power to switch operators.

The Environment Minister, Phil Hogan, said: ‘I’ll make sure consumers get the information they require so if they are not satisfied, they can switch provider. It’s not acceptable for firms to ignore the genuine complaints of their customers and they will be held to account for their failures under the new system.”

The policy also focuses on the environmental and economic benefits of better waste management, particularly waste prevention. It calls for waste contractors to incentivise their customers to adopt more sustainable behaviours with a “brown bin roll-out” aimed at diverting organic waste from landfill towards more productive uses including compost production and electricity generation through anaerobic digestion.

“When we cut the amount of waste we direct to landfill, we also cut costs for families and businesses. The less waste people produce, the less they will have to pay,” said Mr Hogan.

He added: “It is about minimizing the amount of waste we produce, eliminating landfill and maximising waste as a resource to produce new products and renewable energy.

“We need to look differently at what we considered to be waste in the past, as a resource opportunity to be maximised.”

A significant reduction in waste planning regions from ten to three is hoped to lead to greater efficiency and less red tape. The government believes that this rationalisation along with the establishment of a team of waste enforcement officers will also combat fly-tipping in the countryside.

According to Minister Hogan the underlying principle of the policy is to protect Ireland’s green image, which he described as “one of the country’s greatest assets.”

Conor McGlone

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