Latest: More waste collectors expected to follow suit after Panda announced it will charge for recycling from April

Update 6.06pm: More waste collectors are expected to follow suit after Panda announced it will charge for recycling from April.

The fee, which will be frozen for 5 years, should cost an average household €21 a year.

Panda says it is because the value in recyclable material has collapsed with China refusing to take it in.

Managing Director Des Crinion says he expects other firms will follow, as they have no choice in a falling market.

He said: "Unless the councils are willing to pay a lot more, they are going to stop collecting."

Earlier: Green bin charges could increase in five years, says Panda Waste

Panda Waste says it will not be increasing its new green bin charges for at least five years.

The waste company is to start charging for its green recycling bin from next month.

Households will now pay 80c per lift and just under 5c for every kilo, or around €21 a year.

It will affect 125,000 customers in Dublin before the regime is rolled out elsewhere.

The company says it has no choice but to introduce the charges because China - which used to take 95% of our plastic - is basically "closed".

Head of Recycling Des Crinion has denied that the charges are the thin end of the wedge.

"I'm quite confident and happy today to say that this is it. We are not going to increase this charge," he said.

We are quite happy that we can sustain this charge.

"This is a subsidy to help us continue recycling, to continue to do the right thing and I'm happy to say here and now that this charge will not be increased.

"We can give a commitment for quite a number of years on this, five years for instance."

The Workers’ Party have called for a series of measures to force retailers to reduce plastic packaging in the wake of the charges announced by Panda.

Cllr. Éilis Ryan suggested two major measures should be introduced.

From an environmental point of view, if we really want to tackle plastic pollution, we need to tackle the producers - the big manufacturers and retailers responsible for creating so much plastic packaging.

"Firstly, we need the urgent introduction of waste disposal units across Ireland’s five major retailers - paid for and managed by the retailer - where consumers can dispose of their plastic waste.

"Secondly, the government should draw up a list of food stuffs where plastic packaging is warranted - because of hygiene or food safety concerns - and, for all other foods, introduce a phased series of fines for manufacturers and retailers who do not transition away from plastic.

What this proves yet again is that, if we leave waste collection in the hands of private companies, we will get increased fees, and no environmental improvement whatsoever.

- Digital Desk

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