The most significant aspect of the Draft Bye-Laws is the requirement, with some exceptions, for a householder to avail of a regular waste collection service where the household is within 200 metres of a collection route serviced by an authorised waste collector. Approximately 20,649 households, representing 47% of all households in County Clare are presently without an authorised refuse collection service compared to the national average of 29%.
Households not availing of a regular waste collection service from an authorised waste collector will be required to prove that they arrange to dispose of or recycle their own waste in an authorised manner and will be required to provide proof in the form of receipts when requested to do so by authorised Council staff. Legitimate methods of recycling and disposing of household waste include the use of civic amenity sites and the sharing of refuse collection services between neighbours relations, etc.
The Bye-Laws also include measures relating to proper storage and preparation of waste for collection, with emphasis on source separation of residual, dry recyclable and organic waste. There also are requirements to present waste in wheeled bins in prescribed places at designated times, while the bye-laws propose to make it an offence to interfere or add to waste which is stored or presented by another person.
Councillor John Crowe, Chairperson of the Council’s Environmental and Water Services Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) commented: “Significant work has been carried out by staff of Clare County Council and Town Councils within the county to implement and enforce the 2007 bye-laws, which has included, for example, the completion of over 500 inspections in 2010 and 400 inspections in 2011. In the main, there has been a high level of compliance by households and commercial premises with the existing bye-laws.”
“However, there remain fundamental issues with regard to proper management of waste, particularly with regard to certain households who do not appear to be able to account for how they dispose of their waste. There is a legitimate concern that unaccounted for waste may be contributing to illegal waste activity such as fly-tipping and backyard burning,” Councillor Crowe added.
Anne Haugh, Director of Services, Clare County Council, said the primary aim of the legislation will be to encourage proper management of household and commercial waste, and will decrease the level of unauthorised waste activity which takes place in County Clare.
Ms. Haugh explained: “The relatively low take-up by households of a regular waste collection service is not something that is particular to Co. Clare, as the equivalent figure in 2010 for Limerick County Council was 52% and for Kerry County Council it was 48%, while the national average of the number of households that did not avail of a regular waste collection service was 29%.
She continued: “National statistics on waste for 2010 clearly show that local authorities with a large urban base tend to have a greater proportion of households availing of a regular waste collection service than local authorities with a large rural base, as is the case in Co. Clare, where certain households may not be in close proximity to a regularly serviced waste collection route. A study carried out by the Regional Waste Management Office in Limerick shows that about 14% of households actually share a bin service. In addition, in 2010, almost 8,400 tonnes of household waste was deposited at Clare County Council’s 5 No. civic amenity sites and 53 No. bring banks. This 8,400 tonnes is equivalent to the waste arising from over 9,000 households or approximately 20% of households in Co. Clare, in a single year. This means that there are approximately 20 to 25% of households in Co. Clare whose waste cannot be accounted for.
Ms. Haugh noted that there is no legal requirement under current national waste legislation that compels households to avail of a regular waste collection service.
She added: “However, such a proposal has been put forward in the recent Government waste policy document entitled ‘A Resource Opportunity’
Details regarding the public consultation period will be announced in the local media and on www.clarecoco.ie in the coming weeks.