Private waste collectors ruled out

Dublin's local authorities have changed waste collection rules so that only the councils or a contractor appointed by the councils will be able to collect rubbish from homes.

The four authorities said the current system, which allows homeowners to pay one of four private companies to collect their rubbish, is unsustainable and will not ensure its ambitious 59% recycling target is met.

The councils already have to provide collections for those that do not pay for private collection, fund waste prevention and awareness programmes, employ enforcement teams to catch fly-tippers, provide recycling facilities and clean up dumped waste, as these services are not provided by the private firms.

Dublin City Council confirmed the councils have varied the Waste Management Plan for the Dublin Region 2005-2010 and will now review waste permits for companies operating in the area.

Matt Twomey, assistant city manager, said: “The recent entry of private operators to a section of the Dublin household waste market is unsustainable.”

He said the case for so many different companies to operate could not be made “on traffic congestion, noise, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions or economic grounds”.

Dublin City Council said it had taken legal advice and consulted the European Commission before making the decision.

The move has been criticised by Progressive Democrat Senator Ciaran Cannon, who said it will leave consumers with no choice, and accused the authorities of acting because they are unable to compete with the private companies.

He said: “I have spoken to some householders in Dublin today who told me that the introduction of competition in their area improved the frequency of their service and allowed them far better options in the kinds of material they could recycle.”

He added: “I have been in contact with [Environment Minister John] Gormley’s office to raise my concerns about this decision and [Progressive Democrat] Minister Mary Harney will be raising this issue at cabinet level.”

Kate Martin

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