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An investigation into waste charges in Ireland, with emphasis on public acceptability

Dunne, Louise
Convery, Frank J.
Published in Waste Management. 2008, vol. 28, no. 12, p. 2826-2834
Abstract There are 34 local authorities in Ireland with legal responsibility to deal with waste arising in their jurisdictions. In 2003 the National government introduced legislation that allows local authorities to recover the costs of waste collection and disposal, and to do so by ‘executive function’, i.e., not requiring support or agreement by the relevant local political representatives. The year 2005 was set as the date by which implementation of a pay by weight or volume was to be introduced. The local authorities were given autonomy as to how they addressed this challenge, so we have – in theory – 34 potentially different experiences from which to learn. This paper examines the pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) waste system in Ireland as it develops in line with EU and National demands, with a view to assessing economic and environmental efficiency. All local authorities were surveyed and thirteen responded. While this only represents about 38% of the total number, it includes jurisdictions that contribute in total more than 50% of waste arising. Key figures in the policy and business community were also interviewed in order to identify how the charging schemes were implemented, and to what effect. These insights and parallel investigations are used to review the potential for problems regarding public acceptability of environmental taxes and examine the evidence for economic and environmental efficiency, as well as problem areas, using data from each of the responding local authority jurisdictions. Concentrating on the incentives and drivers across households, municipalities and private waste contractors, the variations in charging system, annual charges and landfill charges are compared where information was available. The various jurisdictions are also examined in terms of relative successes and problems encountered in the transition from fixed charge or free waste collection to PAYT systems. The Irish situation is placed in the context of the international literature on PAYT, the growing waste crisis, environmental attitudes vs. behaviours, and the acceptability of environmental taxes generally.
Keywords Waste management chargesEnvironmental taxationEconomic instrumentsBehaviour changeWaste policy
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DUNNE, Louise, CONVERY, Frank J., GALLAGHER, Louise. An investigation into waste charges in Ireland, with emphasis on public acceptability. In: Waste Management, 2008, vol. 28, n° 12, p. 2826-2834.

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Deposited on : 2017-11-27

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