Dublin’s waste

There are three pieces on waste policy in today’s Irish Times.

According to the first, poor households in Dublin will no longer be exempt from waste charges. This makes a lot of sense. If one is worried about the impact of waste charging on household budgets, then one should increase benefits/tax credits. The present, to-be-abolished system mixes environmental and social policy, both of which are badly served as a result.

According to the second piece, the High Court ruled in favour of competition in household waste collection and against Dublin’s county councils who are both regulators of and operators in this market.

According to the third piece, Minister Gormley talks about the implications for the Poolbeg incinerator.

13 replies on “Dublin’s waste”

I cannot see how DCC in particular can remain in the rubbish collection business after this. They are just making trouble for themselves, because they will be both the regulator and a weak player. It will be an everlasting sequence of judicial reviews if they stay in the game.

The incinerator seems to be high fantasy at this stage.

>This makes a lot of sense
Actually, it does not make any sense, it is highly stupid.

If poor people’s rubbish is collected free of charge, they will (probably) put their rubbish in a bin and put it out for collection.

If they get extra cash in their pocket (via benefits or tax credit) that they are supposed to spend on rubbish collection, some of them will spend that cash on fun things like food and sky sports, and throw their rubbish over the nearest wall, or dump it in your local park, or burn it in their back garden.

Well the point is that they should be incouraged to recycle. they are being given the standing charge free and therefore only have to pay for each lift of waste which is cheaper for recycling bins (As someone in the composting industry I would worry that the level of contaminants may increase).
They are therefore being given a carrot to recycle more which was not the case before and this is good policy.
If this causes people to engage in illegal dumping then a big stick needs to be used. Perhaps if someone is shown to have illegaly dumped then the standing charge should be imposed on them. The free standing charge being a nice carrot for good behaviour.

In relation to the DCC court case I personally think it is excellent for the waste market generally and will ultimately result in lower prices for consumers. No monopoly system (espeically one where the monopoly holder plans to fix into an expensive 20year contract) is good for consumers.


I understand the point that you are making, but I think you’re living in a fantasy land. Have you ever lived on the dole? You’re thinking “social responsibility”, they’re thinking “how am I going to feed the kids for 3 days on 5 euro?”.

1. I didn’t know that the recycling bin will continue to be free (or cheaper). That is even stupider – they can get rid of their rubbish free of charge without even going to the effort of hauling it to an illegal dumping area – just put it ALL in the free bin!

2. That “big stick” is expensive, as is cleaning up illegal dumping sites. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just collect the rubbish from peoples houses free of charge?

3. I think rubbish collection companies will lose revenue, because even the people who choose to be socially resposible and pay for rubbish collection will share bins. 1 bin for 2 or 3 houses = less lifts = less revenue.

4. I don’t know anything about the DCC court case, I believe that it was to do with free competition, which I am in favour of, but that doesn’t invalidate any of my points. Poor people will do what they are financially incentivised to do, because they have little or no choice.


I did not express myself clearly.

1. Everyone should pay for the waste that they dispose of.

2. People who cannot afford to pay, should get a “waste allowance” or a “waste tax credit”.

The current system, with exemptions for affordability, does not properly incentivise environmental protection. Besides, people who cannot afford their waste charges receive, de facto, a benefit-in-kind (free waste disposal) while they’d be better off receiving a benefit-in-cash (money to pay their waste charges, or if they economise on their waste, money to pay for whatever).

Note that Dublin City Council only announced 1 rather than 1+2.

No offense, Pete, but you appear to have confused poor people with children.

I know there are plenty of people who throw their rubbish in the recycling bin, charges or not, and I’m sure money concerns will add to such tomfoolery, but you’re acting like 20% of the country doesn’t have the mental capacity to dispose of its rubbish properly.

Richard: Dcc is a regulator and operator. There is no proposal to change that.

Covanta is doing some ground work. What banker is going to finance building incinerator capacity that there is no demand for?

I know DCC has a dual function. It should not.

My understanding is that the contract is such that the incinerator will turn a profit whether or not it incinerates. DCC will pay an annual sum and in return can burn the first N tonnes for free. If DCC delivers less than N tonnes, it still pays the full amount.

DCC is therefore keen to get waste to the incinerator, which may help to explain the behaviour that the judge disapproved of.

I have lived on the dole breifly and apparently I would be better off on the dole now (I support a family of 5 on 35k).

I acknowledged that illegal dumping would become a problem, but I think it is you that is out of touch if you thinkl all people on social welfare levels of income are deciding how to feed. 3 kids on five euro. It is easy to live off thayt level of income
Unless you have an addiction of some kind. It also shows a kind of snobbery that you think most people have no sense of civic pride. Many people on
Social welfare are very well organised and house proud ‘cleanliness is close to godliness’.
I do agree that in areas of high density of social welfare recipients this would cause problems

Have we as a people lost our reason, we pay for our rubbish to be collected which includes recycled and composting material, then that same recycled material is sold on for a profit which we don’t see, the composting material is used so in turn in parks etc, reducing the various councils need to buy compost hence saving them money yet the price of the collection of rubbish is set to rise.
Wake up people, if we don’t stop this nonsense the government will start charging us to flush our own waste down the toilet.
Please people wake up.

@Declan Cullen:
“if we don’t stop this nonsense the government will start charging us to flush our own waste down the toilet.”

You mean people should sort out your shit without being paid for it? What special quality does it have?


“(I support a family of 5 on 35k). ”
Yes, you probably would be better off on the dole. You have my respect.

In my first post, I said “some of them will spend that cash on fun things like food and sky sports, and throw their rubbish over the nearest wall”. The key word here is “some”.
I acknowledge that the majority of people wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing, but a small percentage can make a real mess that takes alot of time and money to clear up.
Imagine a housing estate of 1000 houses. Imagine it’s a poorer area where 50% of housholds live on the dole. Now imagine that a mere 5% of households on the dole don’t dispose of their rubbish properly. That’s 25 households in the estate. Over the couse of a year, that’s alot of rubbish. It’s going to make the estate (or wherever it’s dumped) look really ugly, and it’s going to cost alot of money to clear up.

Dave said: “you’re acting like 20% of the country doesn’t have the mental capacity to dispose of its rubbish properly”

Well, I don’t know what the current numbers are, but a couple of years ago a government survey found that 25% of households in Ireland where not using any licensed rubbish diposal operator.

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