A nationwide review of pay-by-use (PBU) domestic waste collection charges in Ireland

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This study funded by the EPA research programme, ‘A Nationwide Review of Pay-By-Use (PBU) Domestic Waste Collection Charges in Ireland’, investigated the implementation of pay-by-use (PBU) domestic waste charges in Ireland in order to discern their impact on domestic waste-management activities, such as waste presentation, waste recycling and illegal waste diversion.

Key Points

  • On a nationwide level there has been a general decrease in the amount of waste produced in cases where PBU has been introduced, whereas those areas without PBU systems have seen an increase in average rates of waste presentation.
  • Under a pay-by-weight system, case study areas reported reductions in domestic waste presentation rates of between 28% and 61% from the year prior to PBU to the most recent figures available, 2007.
  • PBU (weight) is an effective tool for waste reduction in its own right, producing reductions in waste to landfill of 28% overall in a waste management area without curbside recycling.
  • PBU (weight) is more effective at reducing household waste to landfill than PBU (tag).
  • While illegal diversion has been mooted as an unwanted by-product of PBU the systems for monitoring such activities frequently lack sophistication making the evaluation of this claim difficult to assess
  • Roles and responsibilities of public and private sector collectors should be clarified. Greater transparency of waste permit systems, grant aid, and collection requirements should be established. This may well be best done through an independent waste regulator.

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