'Grave concerns' raised as pay-by-weight date looms

'Grave concerns' raised as pay-by-weight date looms
Sam Matthews sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie @SamAMatthewsKP

A local councillor has expressed fear that the arrival of the new 'pay by weight' system will lead to a rise in illegal dumping or fly-tipping in Kilkenny.

After July 1, householders will be charged by their waste collector based on the weight of household waste they produce. General waste will cost more than recycling or organic (food/garden) waste, and it is hoped the change will encourage better segregation of household waste as well as maximise waste reduction.

However, local councillor Maurice Shortall, who is chairman of the Environment Strategic Policy Committee, says the Pay By Weight system should be deferred until a number of conditions are met

“We were promised a concerted national awareness campaign,” he said.

“Sadly there is not a shred of evidence of even a start being made — and indeed, communication officers are absent at the wheel both regionally and nationally. Why are the waste industry contractors not communicating with their customers, where are the brown bins (for diversion of food waste) or the weight samples which were promised?”

“To date, collectors have been paid quarterly or annual fees, and there is no guidance on how pay by weight will be applied.”

In the case of Kilkenny, the Southern Waste Region Planning Management Company are the lead authorit. On April 14, Kilkenny's Environment SPC were informed that the national campaign would commence on May 19. Cllr Shortall says that this hasn't been the case

“Apparently all that has changed, and now the awareness campaign kicks off on June 18 — less than two weeks before introduction,” he said.

“The situation is farcical.”

The north Kilkenny councilllor also expressed ' grave concerns' that the new system will lead to further illegal dumping, which is already a problem. He has further concern for people who are coping with particular situations.

“There is no waiver system is in place to deal with special circumstances,” said Cllr Shortall.

“For example, no account has been taken where people are on a 24/7 care programme in their own home and where significant extra weight will be generated by members with special medical requirements such as dressings, incontinence pads etcetera,” he said.

“The elimination of the bags for customers on kerbside collection will pose its own problems. Where elderly people use bag services it is often the case that their homes or health are not compatible with wheelie bin service requirements.

“A system of refuse collection is being promoted on a market basis not on a service basis. There will be a need to clarify the effect of the new refuse collection charges on households. It appears to me there will be no price control as contractors can set both fixed and per kilo rate based on their own commercial judgement.