Proposed rise in bin charges unfair, says full-time carer

Man who looks after sister with Down Syndrome says change will be ‘huge increase’

Waste collection companies have not yet released a full breakdown of new pricing structures, but some details are beginning to emerge through notifications to individual customers. File photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Waste collection companies have not yet released a full breakdown of new pricing structures, but some details are beginning to emerge through notifications to individual customers. File photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

 

A man who cares full-time for his sister who has Down Syndrome has said the proposed increase in bin charges is “unfair”.

New “per-kilogramme” collection fees on black and brown bins are to be introduced, but concern has been raised over anticipated hikes in annual flat-rate service fees.

Waste collection companies have not yet released a full breakdown of new pricing structures, but some details are beginning to emerge through notifications to individual customers.

Greyhound and Thorntons have come in for particular criticism.

In the Dáil on Monday, Independents 4 Change TD Joan Collins said Greyhound is to increase its annual service charge from €59.95 to €169. Thorntons will rise from €50 to €104, she said.

Paul Whitehead from Lucan is a full-time carer for his sister, who has Down Syndrome.

Mr Whitehead also has a disability - he has suffered from chronic rheumatoid arthritis since he was a child.

“I look after my sister who has Down Syndrome and would be mildly incontinent. She uses five or six pads every day so as a result our bin is heavier than the average household, so the new charges are unfair,” he said.

‘No exemption’

“We get no exemption - that was done away with several years ago. We have to pay the same bin charges as everyone else regardless of our disability,” he said.

“Under the old system, I was playing a flat rate of €17 per month with Greyhound which amounted to €204 a year. I looked back over my account and calculated the exact waste I have been using the last year. It averages at around 23 kilos per bin, lifted every two weeks.

“When the increase comes in, we will be paying €304 per year which is a a huge increase,” he said.

“Large families and people like ourselves are going to face big increases because we put more in the black bin,” he said.

Mr Whitehead said the increased charges are a burden on their household budget.

“It is an increase of €100 a year for us. I know that works out at around €2 per week, but it is a lump out of our yearly budget we could really do without as my sister and I are on social welfare,” he said.

“The increase in the charges is due to greed by private companies whose only interest is in profiteering. They have no interest in waste management or environmental policy.

‘Only purpose is profit’

“Their only purpose is profit and they are using this situation to maximise their own profits,” he said.

“The bin companies have been given a hand to do it by former minister for the environment Alan Kelly because he didn’t impose an upper limit on the bin charges,” he said.

The Department of the Environment said the open market allowed for companies to set their rates, meaning “competition among operators should ensure that collectors are competitively priced”.

The department said officials would monitor the newly implemented charges “very closely” but added that, with the range of charging mechanisms and contracts and different prices across the country, “it is not possible to track each and every charge”.