Revised Regulations and Charges for Business Waste
The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, has signed new legislation to introduce incentivised charging for waste collection in the commercial sector. The Waste Management (Collection Permit) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2023 will come into effect on 1st July 2023.
A study published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2018 found that 70% of the contents of the average commercial waste bin could be diverted to recycling. This represents a massive loss of potentially-recyclable material and an unnecessarily high cost to businesses, whose waste charges would be lowered through proper segregation.
Improved waste segregation in the commercial sector can also make a significant contribution to achieving our EU recycling targets. Ireland faces challenging targets under the EU Waste Framework Directive for recycling municipal solid waste (MSW) of 55% by 2025, 60% by 2030 and 65% by 2035. The most recent figures from the EPA show that we achieved a rate of 41% in 2020.
The Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, published by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications in 2020, contains a commitment “to improve waste segregation in the commercial sector, including an awareness campaign and enforcement actions requiring segregated waste bins and incentivised charging to ensure waste minimisation and proper segregation”. This change will bring the commercial sector in line with the residential sector, for whom incentivised pricing has been in place since 2017.
Measures in the new regulations for commercial waste include:
- all waste collection companies will be required to provide a residual, mixed dry recyclable and bio-waste bin to all their commercial customers;
- all waste collected must be weighed, with details on the weights of the individual bins communicated to customers;
- waste collection companies must ensure that all commercial customers are placed onto a price plan that ensures that the cost to the customer for mixed dry recyclable or bio-waste is less than the cost of disposal for municipal waste. The introduction of this measure should not result in higher waste collection charges for commercial customers;
- waste collection companies will be required to at least collect the recyclable waste materials as specified on www.mywaste.ie;
- collection of recyclable waste and bio-waste must occur at least fortnightly.
Welcoming the regulations, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, said: “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has indicated that 70% of the material placed in commercial black bins could instead be put in recycling or organic bins. The introduction of incentivised waste collection in the residential sector has proven very successful, and I am confident that the commercial sector will embrace these changes and help Ireland to meet our EU targets for recycling and landfill.
“Improved recycling of commercial waste will benefit not just the environment but will improve the viability of recycling infrastructure and reduce waste costs for business.”
Commenting on the new legislation, CEO of Repak, Seamus Clancy, said: “The implementation of mandatory segregation and incentivised charging for commercial waste marks a significant advancement in Ireland’s national recycling policy and is a positive step towards maximising resource usage and achieving future EU recycling targets. The proper segregation of materials will lower waste management costs for businesses in Ireland and substantially increase the level of recyclable material which can be collected.
“Repak is committed to supporting the commercial sector during this transition and will be providing guidance to businesses on how best to collect and separate waste in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. The successful adoption of incentivised charging for waste collection in the commercial sector is crucial to ensure Ireland can meet the targets set by the EU Waste Framework Directive.”
There is no change for packaging waste currently collected under packaging waste legislation, as well as no change proposed for food waste or bio-waste currently collected from commercial premises under Waste Management (Food Waste) Regulations.
The regulations also require that waste collection companies update their customer charter for households, as well as introduce a customer charter for their commercial customers. This charter must be published on the collector’s website and must give details such as the frequency of collections, methods of charging and details of the collection service for each type of waste.
The Waste Management (Collection Permit) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2023 will be published on www.irishstatutebook.ie.