Everybody should get themselves a food waste/brown bin – IT SAVES MONEY! If you throw organic material into landfill it doesn’t make its way back in the cycle of life to be used as fertiliser on farms or gardens to provide nutrients for the next generation of fruit and veg, trees, flowers etc. What a disgraceful waste taking something from nature and never returning it when there is such an easy solution.
I am not the angry activist type but I have spent several months now battling for my right to a brown bin for food waste. Last week I finally had success. This post is particularly aimed at bag customers in Dublin who are told they can’t have brown wheelie bins by their waste company.
There is an EU directive that mandated food waste provisions incrementally by population area over the past number of years. By July 2016 everybody in Ireland will have the right to a brown waste service. I live in an area that was designated bag collection only by my bin collector and the ‘customer service’ agents on the phone point blank blocked any attempts I made to get a food waste bin or to speak to anyone who was paid enough to care that their company was breaking the law. I contacted Dublin City Council and eventually got the contact details of people higher up in the private bin company who responded more positively although it did take some patience and persistence. I went for the polite non-angry route because at the end of the day I really just wanted to get my bin and being angry takes too much energy and rarely helps you get you anywhere.
In Ireland food waste comes under Statutory Instrument no. 191 of 2015 which is an update of an earlier 2013 EU directive. If you live in an area of over 1,500 persons you are entitled to food waste facilities since July 1st 2015 and by July 1st 2016 every person will be entitled to this service. Based on my experience here’s a guide for dealing with a negative response, which is likely if you are a bag customer in Dublin. If you are told there is no wheelie bin service in your area so you cannot have a brown bin when you call your bin service provider:
1. ask to speak to someone more senior and be super persistent. Call every day if you have to. Many companies don’t want to expand their service because it may be logistically difficult and could call for investments they don’t want to make. Unless people insist on the service they are entitled to nothing will change.
2. Email the company as well as calling as the email may have more chance of being referred up the line.
3. Be nice and polite but insistent and persistent. Acknowledge the fact that the customer service agents are not in charge of company policy and probably have no knowledge of your rights.
4. Look up the company license on the National Waste Collection Permit Office and check when their license was last renewed and which waste laws it is obliged to abide by. If the license was granted after April 2013 then it should mention S.I. 71 2013 or S.I. 191 2015 specifically.
5. Once you have confirmed this in their license Inform them that their practice of refusing you a food waste disposal option is contrary to S.I. 191 2015 and S.I. 71 of 2013 and their license granted by the NWCPO.
You will probably get your way if you have to go this far but if you don’t then,
6. make your complaint to the NWCPO and local council.
7. Get in touch with your local councillor.
8. Make some noise!
You can do this, you have a right and reducing food waste and composting is one of the easiest changes you can make to become more environmentally friendly.
More information about how to compost can be found on the Brown Bin Ireland website.