Press Release

SIPTU says new Government policy fails to address failures in domestic waste collection

Date Released: 07 September 2020

SIPTU has stated that the Government’s new waste collection policy fails to address the critical problem of almost a quarter of households in the country having no domestic waste collection service.

SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “The latest Government waste policy, ‘A Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy’, does not address the greatest weakness in our waste policy, namely that almost a quarter of all households in the State have no domestic waste collection service at all. Unless this issue is addressed, the Government will continue to have to address widespread illegal dumping when what is needed are preventative measures to stop it occurring.

“Ireland is ‘the wild west’ in terms of waste collection in the EU. We are the only country in the EU where you have multiple service providers within a single local authority area. In every other country there is direct provision of the service by the local authority or a tendering process which results in one service provider operating throughout a local authority area. This tendering process builds in service quality thresholds which providers must meet. 

“Our model for domestic waste collection leads to a situation where workers in the industry ultimately pay the cost for a dysfunctional market. Such a policy is also not sustainable on environmental grounds with large numbers of waste trucks blocking up our city streets on a daily basis and generating unnecessary carbon emissions.

“Some aspects of the new Government policy, specifically the emphasis on ensuring that products remain in use for longer periods and its commitment that the Environmental Protection Agency will publish a report on crime in the waste sector, are positive. 

“It also places an emphasis on ‘green procurement’. However, there must also be a socially progressive approach to public procurement which ensures decent pay and working standards for workers in the waste industry, who are among the most poorly paid workers in the State.”

He added: “SIPTU representatives will be seeking a meeting with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Eamon Ryan. At this meeting we will be calling on him to ensure that the proposed new Waste Management Bill will address the structural reforms which are needed in the domestic waste collection sector.”


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