Dublins four local authorities have decided to restrict the ability of private companies to collect waste in Dublin city and county.
Under the change, announced earlier this week, the local authorities will either collect household waste themselves, or else license a single operator to collect it, thereby ending the existing situation where two or three private companies are competing for business in some areas.
Dublin City Council assistant city manager Matt Twomey has strongly defended the decision, arguing that private firms, who have won the business to collect from 40,000 of the 400,000 homes in the capital in just 18 months, have cherry-picked the business.
Currently, 100 private waste companies are licensed to operate in Dublin, but just three collect from homes. All will now be asked to give full details of their existing business within 21 days. The local authorities will then vary, end or amend the licence to collect household waste, said Twomey.
In the face of warnings from Greenstar, City Bins and Panda Waste that they would challenge such a move in the European courts, Twomey said the councils had sought, and received, confirmation from the European Commission that they are operating within Irish and EU law.
The recent entry of private operators to a section of the Dublin household waste market is unsustainable, he said. The Dublin local authorities fund a waiver scheme for about 70,000 low income families in the region, to make sure everyone has a waste collection service. They also fund waste prevention and waste awareness programmes, employ enforcement teams to catch those who dump their waste illegally, fund recycling centres, bring centres and glass banks for householders, as well as the award-winning dublinwaste.ie website with its very popular free-trade facility.
The local authorities provide a clean up service in respect of dumped household waste which can be a serious source of environmental pollution. The private sector does not provide any of these essential services.
The decision to restrict the ability of private companies to collect waste in Dublin city and county has been criticised by the Irish Waste Management Association. The association, which said the decision is a move to re-monopolise bin service, insisted it would cost householders up to €30 million per year in extra charges.