Thu, Apr 2, 2020
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Dublin City Council’s Waste Management Department is looking for feedback on its 2022 Litter Plan. While much good work has been done there is lots more we could be doing to make Dublin a cleaner, more sustainable city (e.g. green & brown bins for apartments, container deposit schemes, more on dog fouling, etc.). If you are interested in making a submission on your own behalf or on behalf of a community group (e.g. resident committees, clean up groups, Tidy Towns, Pride of Place) please feel free to use as much of as little of our submission as you’d like.
You can make your own submission (copy/paste as much of as little of our submission below as you like) before 5pm on Monday 6th April 2020
Your submission does not need to be detailed. If there’s something about the plan that bothers you let Dublin City Council know.
Much positive work has been done by the staff of DCC, community groups, and business groups to make Dublin a cleaner city. Nonetheless we have a long road to travel particularly in certain city centre litter black spots (1).
The process of seeking feedback from the residents of the city on the litter management plan is also a step we very much welcome.
At a high level our main request is that the primary focus be on reducing the production of waste rather than dealing (e.g. collection, recycling, enforcement) with the litter that waste inevitably produces. While there are elements of waste reduction in the plan our view is that there needs a dedicated focus and, in terms of the current plan, waste reduction should be a fourth pillar.
Detailed feedback can be found below:
Be it waste that goes into black bins, waste that goes into green/brown bins or waste that ends up as litter on our streets the focus should be on producing less waste.
We suggest actions that will encourage the sources of waste (supermarkets, shops, take-aways, cafés, etc.) to reduce* the amount of waste they produce.
Incentives could include:
*The focus needs to be on waste reduction as opposed to a move to so called “recyclable” or “compostable” items many of which are not recyclable or compostable in practice in Dublin’s current recycling system.
Enforce the existing by-laws (3) around waste collection for apartments. Ensure that all apartments provide green and brown bins. We welcome that the council is piloting shared green and brown bins in some of its own complexes (4).
We also welcome that the Waste Management Department will seek to include the provision of recycling facilities in all new residential and commercial developments as an objective of the Dublin City Development Plan. We hope that “recycling facilities” in this context means green and brown bins.
For areas with high concentration smaller houses/cottages where there is little yard space the council should pilot/introduce the provision of communal on street green and brown bins.
The council should also instruct waste companies to provide smaller bins or caddies so that there is easy-to-use alternative to larger wheelie bins.
41% of the notifications and complaints received by Dublin City Councils Waste Management Services in 2018 were related to illegal dumping. There is a significant minority of households in Dublin that are not signed up to an authorised waste collection service. We note that there is a plan for enforcement of the requirement to use an authorised waste collector. Our view is that it is debatable whether this will eliminate illegal dumping. Longer term we would request that a publicly provided waste collection service be reintroduced as a means to curbing illegal dumping.
Sign up to the Terracycle program (5) so that items which can not currently be recycled in the normal domestic waste (crisp packets, sweet packets, etc.) can be recycled. Have some DCC buildings be a collection/drop off-centre as well as libraries/schools and some local businesses.
Pilot a deposit scheme whereby anything sold in a sealed beverage container - milk, alcohol, soft drinks, or water – would go through a deposit scheme. These containers can be plastic, glass, tin or of another material. Deposit refund schemes are popular globally and their widespread use in Ireland is long overdue.
Deposit return systems are a proven tool to collect high quantities of containers for reuse and high-quality recycling, they are vital to achieving a circular economy. Over 130 million people in the EU alone live in countries with deposit-systems (6). DCC should pilot their own deposit return scheme, taking examples from the existing reverse vending machine in Carrickmacross set up by Tidy Towns and Sabra Plastics and the Repak machines in some Universities. They should expand on these to include anything sold in a sealed beverage container - milk, alcohol, soft drinks, or water. These containers can be plastic, glass, tin or of another material.
Where areas are required present bagged waste the council should require the bags provided by the operator are sturdy enough so that birds are less able to tear the bags open.
While dog foul is unpleasant for everybody it is much more of an issue for wheelchair users and the visually impaired. The current approach of education and limited enforcement does not seem to be working. We ask that the council consider some of the more radical solutions employed by other cities (7),(8) and convene a mini consultation on what more can be done.
While graffiti will probably always be a problem the council should consider if providing sanctioned space for murals to local artists, schools or community groups would deter graffiti has been seen in other cities (9). At a minimum the murals would brighten neglected spaces (Dublin Canvas (10) being a great example of such and community art initiative).
Continue to run end consumer education campaigns (e.g. “don’t be Dick” campaign) so that people remain focused on litter reduction.
We welcome the QR code initiatives for bins monitoring. For some however QR codes will be too complicated or a barrier to reporting an issue. We would also ask that the council proactively monitor social media channels for reports for issues with bins and/or general litter issues.
We would encourage the council to make greater use of CCTV warning signs and blurred images from CCTV to discourage littering.
We welcome the planned increase in the number of handcarts operation recognising that the number of front-line staff had fallen in previous year.
We would ask the council to allocate the amount of Litter Wardens to areas proportionate to the amount of illegal waste and dumping.
Implement and publish a litter log, managed by the responsible DCC litter officer that lists the complaint received, Geocode of the litter location, date received, action / response taken, date of action.
Publish a schedule on the Dublin City Council website that showed whether streets were cleaned daily, weekly or monthly.
Reform our parking regulations working with the Department of Transport so that we can restrict parking on one side of the street on one day a month to allow our street cleaning trucks to make a clean sweep of roadsides.
Where possible we would encourage a move to or trialling of electric vehicles to improve the city’s air quality.