People ‘throwing away’ food worth twice cost of bin charges

Minister Denis Naughten defends regime and claims people putting dead animals into recycling bins


Householders are buying and throwing away food worth twice the annual cost of bin charges in some counties, according to Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten.

He also said the value of food waste being disposed of “is the equivalent on average of twice the annual cost of house insurance”.

The Minister said one waste company director was “talking about animals being thrown into recycling bins. That’s the sort of stuff going on at the moment. Do we continue to tolerate that? I don’t think we can or should.”

In an impassioned speech to Senators at the end of a debate on household waste charges and the move from a flat fee system of payment, Mr Naughten said that “if no one pays for bins more rubbish will be going into the black bin”.


He said that about 40 per cent of green and brown bin content was contaminated and worthless and “people are not prepared to segregate waste” because there was no consequence.

“We have four landfills at the moment, there is only enough capacity by 2020 for 10 months of the year,” he said.

A landfill in his Roscommon-Galway constituency is the only one outside Dublin and he did not want to see that expanded.

“Why should we in my constituency have to take the refuse from Dublin or any other county?”

But he said regardless of the cost of disposal, people were throwing away an average of €700 a year of food they buy but do not use. It is “the equivalent of twice the cost of the bin charges in Co Roscommon and this is just being thrown away every year”.

Last year “on two separate occasions we came very close to stopping bin collections because we had nowhere for waste to go”, he said, adding that he had to bring in emergency legislation to deal with the issue.

“This is going to be an ongoing problem that I am going to have to deal with until we try and reduce the residual waste.”

He said the incinerator was coming onstream in Dublin but even with it fully operational, “there is still going to be a shortfall”.