Bin charges changes could cost bigger families more
BIGGER families could be counting the cost once pay-by-weight waste collections come into force at the middle of the year, but if they are careful about what they throw away it could pay dividends.
Director of Services with Wexford County Council John Carley said that there are going to be 'winners and losers'.
'People won't really know what they will be paying until it comes into effect,' he said.
The Department of the Environment recently said that while most homeowners will pay lower fees, 4.5 per cent of the population who live in larger households - six or more - can expect to pay more. Mr Carley said that this is likely to be the case.
'The evidence would be that this is probably true,' he said. 'I suspect that larger families are going to pay more than they are currently.'
'But these large families can save money. If they get more into recycling and putting material in brown bins, there may be a possibility that they will pay less.'
The cost of waste for each household will depend on the charges implemented by each private waste collector.
Speaking with this newspaper last year, Shane Linehan AES Area Operations Manager said that their prices won't be decided until March or April. When asked about their own costs, a spokesperson for Greenstar said that they will be advising their customers of the waste prices well in advance of the changeover. They could not comment on when these prices would be decided.
Although companies have yet to announce their new rates, customers will pay a minimum of 11 cent per kilo of black bin waste, 6 cent per kilo of food waste and 2 cent per kilo of green or recyclable waste.
'It will be a matter for each private waste collector,' said Resident Engineer with Wexford County Council, Sean Meyler. 'The charges are coming in from July 1 and I expect we won't know much more before then.'
Although minimum charges have been set, Mr Meyler said that no regulations could be brought in to determine how high charges can be.
'The minister couldn't interfere on businesses in that way,' he said.
Several groups, including members of the Green Party, have said that charging for recycling could have a negative impact on recycling rates. However, according to Mr Meyler, the new system does not mean people will be paying more for recycling.
'It shouldn't have an effect on how people recycle,' he said. 'Effectively it's a different way of charging but there's no suggestion that the net price will be higher or lower than before. It's a fixed annual charge now and it will be pay by weight in future. It doesnt mean people will be paying more, they will just be paying in a different way.'
With the implementation of the new system only five months away, Wexford County Council are gearing up for a rise in illegal dumping, which Mr Carley said they expect will occur as a result.
'We're expecting that there will be more illegal dumping, but thats a matter for us to enforce,' he explained.
'We'll be putting out more cameras and things like that. There will be a more focused effort to get more people to court and more publicity for court cases.
'When people know there is a high chance of being caught [dumping illegally], that's a huge disincentive for them.'