Pay by weight proposals rubbished by council
Pay by weight proposals were rubbished at Monday's meeting of Wexford County Council but they were told it was part of national legislation.
In examining the Southern Waste Plan Cllr Fergie Kehoe wondered about the new pay by weight measures which were to be introduced later this year.
Tadgh O'Corcora of Wexford County Council said the regulations being proposed would be introduced on July 1 and would apply to the three bins, waste, food waste and recycling.
He said there would be a pay by weight charge coupled with an overall monthly charge.
Cllr Kehoe pointed out that not all households have three bins.
Mr O'Corcora said there would be a structured approach to the charges. He said these would encourage food waste and general recycling but said the pricing structure is a matter for each individual operator. However he said they must 'work within the parameters' of the legislation.
Cllr George Lawlor asked why recycling and food waste bins were being weighed saying that if the council were trying to encourage recycling and composting weighing these bins is 'a disincentive'.
Mr O'Corcora said he expected that the cost of the residual waste bin would be higher than the other two bins.
Cllr Davy Hynes was sceptical that there would be no extra charges to the consumer and pointed out that people with solid fuel stoves and fires had to dispose of ashes in their residual waste bin and said these are a significant weight particularly at this time of year.
He said these would put 'huge costs' on people.
Cllr Malcolm Byrne wondered how feasible was the scheme wondering 'how will collectors know that there is only recyclables in a bin and not waste?' He also wondered how each household was going to be billed. He said it would be easy for people to dispose of the incorrect waste in a cheaper bin.
Cllr Hynes said the whole thing would lead to 'more illegal dumping'.
Mr O'Corcora said people will be encouraged to recycle more so that they would have less residual waste. However he said the matter of billing was a matter for the individual collectors when the regulations came into force.
Cllr Deirdre Wadding said that if someone was composting at home they might not have any food waste and how would collectors determine if they were actually composting or disposing of food waste illegally?
Cllr Ger Carthy said the council 'had sold the family silver when we got rid of our domestic waste service and now the people of Wexford are going to have to pay more'.
Cllr Mary Farrell said pay by weight for recycling 'defeats the whole purpose of recycling. I think it is outrageous to charge people for recycling.'
Cllr Lawlor pointed out that currently people received a free recycling week once they had bought so many weeks and said how would that be factored into pricing.
Mr O'Corcora said it is very expensive to segregate waste and said 'pay by weight will be an aid to collectors to ensure the' right material is in the right bin'.
Cllr Anthony said these will 'create huge problems down the line' and said he can only 'assume that the new regulations are coming after lobbying from the private collectors'.
Cllr John Fleming wondered if any weighing device on the refuse trucks would be regulated so that they can't be tampered with by anyone like the way taxi meters are regulated. Mr O Corcora confirmed the weighing device on trucks would be regulated.
Cllr Lawlor said the council should write to the Department to condemn the new regulations saying 'I think it's ludicrous'.
Cllr Byrne also suggested writing to the operators to ascertain their pricing plans.