Kildare latest council to stop household bin collections

Tue, Aug 23, 2011, 01:00

KILDARE COUNTY Council has become the latest local authority to exit the household waste collection market with the transfer of its 18,000 customers to Bord na Móna from this week.

The council decided to stop bin collections following a review that found the service had become unsustainable. Exiting the market would allow the council to reduce costs and redeploy resources more effectively, it said.

Bord na Móna’s waste management arm, AES, was one of a number of private operators already collecting bins in Kildare. The company had approximately 25 per cent of the market with 12,000 customers, and the acquisition of the council’s business makes it the largest waste operator in the county.

“There will be no interruption to the existing waste collection service, bins will be collected on the same days as before, bin tags already purchased will continue to be accepted by AES and bin tags will continue to be available from the same retail outlets,” the company said.

The company has committed to freezing tag prices until next June and said it will continue to honour the council’s waiver scheme until December 2012.

The majority of the council’s bin customers were lower income households who paid for tags but were granted waivers in respect of the €178 annual household waste charge.

A spokesman for Bord na Móna said waiver customers would continue to receive a “preferential price” but the extent of any discount had yet to be determined.

County mayor, Fine Gael’s Micheál Nolan, said he accepted the council’s service had become unsustainable but said he wanted a firm commitment that waiver customers would be protected from high bin charges.

“The private companies were offering a lower prices than the council and so the council was largely left with waiver customers. It was costing the council in the region of €3 million a year to keep the service going and that was totally unsustainable.”

Dublin City Council is the only local authority in the greater Dublin region still collecting bins, although the city council is in talks with Siptu, the union representing bin men, in relation to the future viability of the service.

A spokesman for the Irish Waste Management Association, which represents private operators, said the exit of Kildare from the market would have an impact on the development of the Poolbeg incinerator.

“Local authorities have promised to supply a large amount of waste to Poolbeg every year, or pay significant penalties, but now the vast majority of the authorities no longer control waste.”

A spokeswoman for Dublin City Council said the Kildare decision would have no impact on the development of the incinerator.

“Irrespective of how waste is collected, this will have no bearing on the Poolbeg waste to energy plant as waste must be directed to the highest point on the waste hierarchy in accordance with EU directives.”