Panda's tough new bin rules start next week

Fines for wrong use of green, brown and black bins

‘A cereal box accidentally disposed of could end up costing families a big fine,’ says TD Jack Chambers. Photograph: Peter Murtagh

‘A cereal box accidentally disposed of could end up costing families a big fine,’ says TD Jack Chambers. Photograph: Peter Murtagh

 

New rules to fine homeowners who fail to segregate waste properly will come into force next week, by one of the country’s largest waste collection companies, Panda Waste.

Amended contracts, which are dated July 11th, have already been circulated to some of the company’s 150,000 households, mainly in Leinster, including Dublin.

The bin company has been plagued by a growth in the percentage of green bin waste that has been soiled by non-recyclable waste, which makes recycling more expensive and more difficult.

Earlier this year, Panda began trials using cameras to photograph green bin waste in a bid to discourage contamination by people trying to evade higher black bin charges.

Under the new contracts being issued by the bin company, customers will be fined €10-€25 for putting contaminated waste in any of its green, brown or black bins.

In common with many other waste companies, Panda offers green bins for dry recyclables, brown bins for composting and the black bins for household waste.

The new contracts specify that “contaminated waste” in black bins includes – but is not limited to – paint, electrical equipment, batteries, organic waste including food waste and hazardous materials.

Unacceptable waste in brown bins will include plastic bags and bottles, packaging of any sort, nappies, glass, stones, soil, metals, wire, cardboard, ashes, coals or cinder, pet faeces or litter and cooking oils.

Contaminated waste in green bins will include glass, clothes, nappies, food and garden waste, aeroboard, polystyrene, Styrofoam, electrical equipment, batteries, liquids, oil, plastic film, bags (unless empty) fluorescent bulbs and tubes and bulbs.

Compound interest fine

The Panda contracts are believed to be the first time since the Government’s decision to scrap flat-rate charging that firms have sought to amend customer agreements.

Panda does not send any waste to landfill and its website states that all of its waste is recycled. Unpaid fines will be levied with a 1 per cent per month compound interest charge on overdue accounts.

It also includes:

– The right to enter on to customers’ property to inspect bins

– The right to alter charges in light of Government regulation or other factors, such as a rise in fuel costs

– Additional charges for hazardous waste, which require immediate payment

– A charge of €15 on unpaid direct debit instalments

– A charge of €30 for cleaning a bin at the end of a contract

– Panda says it “shall not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever due to Panda’s failure to deliver or perform the services promptly or at all”.

– The customer should indemnify Panda for any loss or damage to the bins.

– The customer should accept full responsibility “for any costs or liability due to the bins obstructing any person(s) or property or being in a location they should not be”.

Describing the contracts as “worrying”, Dublin West TD Jack Chambers said Panda is “now going to impose significant penalties and fines on households where the wrong item is put in the wrong bin.

“A cereal box or water bottle accidentally disposed of could end up costing families a big fine,” he said, adding that he was “ alarmed” that it is seeking the right to enter people’s property to inspect bins.

“They are granting themselves more powers than An Garda Síochána when it comes to entering property. This illustrates that companies are bringing in whatever stealth charges and rules they wish.

“They are operating almost as a law unto themselves,” he said, adding that the Government has failed to help the public to properly identify different waste categories.