Cost of bin collections in Dublin area to rise in July


DUBLIN CITY householders can expect an increase in the cost of bin collections from July, due to a provision in the contract with private waste firm Greyhound, Dublin City Council has confirmed.

Assistant city manager Séamus Lyons yesterday apologised to customers for “glitches” arising from the transfer of the council’s waste collection service to Greyhound last Monday.

The council had received “numerous” complaints this week in relation to the failure of Greyhound to collect bins, Mr Lyons told city councillors yesterday. He also acknowledged that a “large number” of customers had only this week received letters notifying them of the change in the waste provider.

Greyhound had previously said it may have to increase the collection charge to householders from July to offset the €10 per tonne rise to the Government’s landfill levy.

Mr Lyons told councillors he would be surprised if this increase was not imposed as it had been provided for in the hand-over contract entered into with Greyhound.

The contract stipulated that Greyhound could impose a “modest increase” in the charge currently €6 for the large grey bin, €3.60 for the small bin or €3 for those using bags.

Mr Lyons said the council would be closely monitoring the situation but didn’t yet know what new charge Greyhound would impose.

Mr Lyons also said yesterday Greyhound would collect bins from householders even if they had debts with the council in relation to unpaid waste collection charges.

Some 10,000 householders owe the council a total of €6.2 million in unpaid bin charges. The council has contracted Greyhound to collect this debt, but Mr Lyons said this was a totally separate matter to householders’ new bin collection arrangements with the company. “There is absolutely no connection . . . one does not relate to the other.”

As long as customers kept their new accounts with Greyhound in credit their bins would be collected, he said. Greyhound would separately pursue the arrears owed to the council and would earn a percentage of any money recouped.

A spokesman for Greyhound yesterday confirmed that a withdrawal of the collection service would not be used as a method to recoup the arrears owed to the council, but that “normal” debt collection processes and procedures would be applied.

Agreement was reached over the Christmas period between the council and Greyhound on the text of a letter to be sent to customers informing them on the changes to the service and to the new payment arrangements.

However, Mr Lyons said that due to “glitches”, largely involving difficulties Greyhound had with printers, a large number of customers received late notification, with some not yet having received any letter. Mr Lyons apologised for this error saying that it “undoubtedly led to confusion”. The letter had informed customers that they must pay an annual standing charge of €100, or €80 for those with a small bin, within 30 days of January 16th for their bin collections to continue.

However, Greyhound yesterday said the payment could be made in two equal instalments, the first by February 15th and remainder by July 1st, but only if they paid using Greyhound’s automatic top-up system, which allows the company to automatically deduct payments from the customers credit or debit card.

Councillors yesterday said this disadvantaged poorer customers who may not have bank accounts.

Mr Lyons said that all waste companies offered limited payment methods, but conceded that some householders may have to open bank accounts to avail of staged payments.