Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy TD has said the decision by Ireland’s largest waste company Panda to introduce charges for recycling is a significant retrograde step which will have far reaching consequences for Ireland’s overall environmental policy.

Deputy Murphy said it was likely that other waste providers would follow Panda in charging for recycling waste and this was bound to impact on how people dispose of their waste. She said huge steps had been taken by people to get used to a recycling regime but that progress was now in danger if charges are to be applied to recycling.

“It is entirely counterproductive to charge people to recycle.  One of the key elements in changing people’s behaviour around the sorting of waste has been the incentive to keep their bin charges down by maximising their recycling waste which was free to dispose of. If you change that scenario then you effectively remove the financial incentive for people to recycle and I fear that will have a significantly detrimental effect on people’s recycling behaviour.

“We cannot underestimate the impact such a decision will have on other aspects of environmental policy and indeed even things like transport policy. We currently only have 5 landfill sites in Ireland and that number is set to reduce in future years. The only other option is the Dublin incinerator and over-reliance on this facility brings with it significant congestion issues and an over-reliance on the already congested Dublin road network.

“If people’s behaviour when disposing of their waste shifts to putting more waste in their black bins, where is that waste going to go? We will have to deal with it. That means the likelihood of waste trucks criss-crossing the country and the ensuing problems that brings.

“The Social Democrats have called for a Waste Regulator. Currently the whole area is extremely weak on regulations and there is very little onus on waste companies with regards customer pricing among other things.  Waste companies are free to take decisions such as the one today without any regulatory body assessing that decision and its impacts in the wider policy context.”

14th March 2018

ENDS