Divide And Rule Recycled




From top: A Panda Waste Management lorry; RTÉ’s Mary Wilson


The Irish Times reported that a new pilot scheme by Panda Waste Management will involve cameras being installed on bin lorries used in Fingal, Co Dublin, to record what householders are putting into their chipped green recycling bins.

The aim is to identify who is putting black bin rubbish, for which there is a charge, into their green bins, which are free, and to fine householders who do so.

The plan is that photographs of the offending rubbish will show who is contaminating their green bins.

The Irish Times reported:

It was revealed on Wednesday that 160 containers of waste for recycling in China were stopped in Rotterdam because of contamination. The rejected waste is being sent back to Ireland at a cost to the recycling industry here of some €500,000.

“It’s a Dublin problem,” says John Dunne, domestic director of Panda, interviewed at the company’s huge Regional Material Recovery Facility in Ballymount industrial estate in west Dublin.

“For every 100 tons that comes in here for recycling, 40 tons is pure sh*te –nappies, clothes, food and garden waste – there’s no other word for it. All stuff that doesn’t belong there. We’ve had dead dogs put in recycling bins.”

Further to this…

On RTE’s Drivetime last night, presenter Mary Wilson spoke to Dublin City Councillor Cieran Perry and Managing Director of the Recycling Division in Panda Waste, Des Crinnion.

Following the Drivetime slot…

Cunning Hired Knaves writes…

“So you think it’s just to avoid paying bin charges, the bad behaviour”, Wilson asked, and asked why people could not go along to a local authority facility and recycle there instead. It was a curious question, since as far as I know, there are no nappy recycling facilities in existence. And even if there were, it is hard to imagine people loading up with dirty nappies to make the journey.

Perry said that in so far as the general public was mixing recycling waste with normal waste, a lot of it was likely down to ignorance, of not knowing what could and what could not be recycling. Crinnion for his part was keen to emphasise that a lot of it amounted to laziness. That is – though he was not drawn on this point – a lot of lazy parents putting nappies into green bins.

Wilson then asked how much was down to ignorance, how much was down to laziness, and how much was down to ‘couldn’t care less’, having apparently opted to set to one side the matter of cost, and the more general question -proposed by Perry- of how waste collection ought to be funded.

In response to Perry’s suggestion that more education would be a more cost-effective means of ensuring proper recycling, Wilson wondered how much more education people needed. “Every child in junior school up is taught about the green flag and recycling and composting and everything else.” Perry countered, not unreasonably, that people were generally aware about recycling, but not necessarily aware, in the specific case of green bins, of what could be recycled and what could not.

Mary Wilson then asked Crinnion about the roll-out of the scheme, and noted that it would be “the citizens of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown first. They’re probably the best behaved, are they?”. The attempt at jocularity could scarcely conceal the class contempt that motivated the question: less affluent locations could be presumed to be worse behaved.

…Prevailing views on household waste production come with a moralistic streak, often encapsulated in the view that ‘the polluter pays’. In the case of homes where there are babies, the polluter in question is someone who cannot help it. All other things being equal, the weight of a bin for a home where there are babies in nappies is far greater than that of a home where there are no nappies used. And they fill up more quickly: we took out the black bins with far more regularity when subjects to the nappy regime.

Hence the costs of waste disposal for homes where there are babies are far higher than those where there are not. Not everyone with babies in nappies has the money at hand to pay for a black bin collection every time it becomes necessary, or, for that matter, the presence of mind required to always throw the right waste into the right bin. That kind of thing is often quite hard, when there are babies to be fed and cleaned, and a home to be maintained.

Thus beneath the moralising disciplinary talk about ‘laziness’ and ‘bad behaviour’, there is the brute fact of a waste disposal regime that penalises poorer parents with babies, one more indication that we have no responsibility for other people’s children, or their welfare. Moreover this regime can only but penalise poorer single parents -usually mothers – even more.

But the consequences of this regime are cast by the public broadcaster – through the words of a private company representative- in terms of the virtue of the rich and the wilful vice of the poor. What is all this, if not a form of widespread pollution?

RTÉ: Trash on the airwaves (Cunning Hired Knaves)


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39 thoughts on “Divide And Rule Recycled

  1. Goosey Lucy

    Can anybody who is knowledgeable in this area please explain: how is chugging tonnes of recyclable material half way round the globe deemed “environmentally friendly “?

        1. Goosey Lucy

          It has to go somewhere, I understand. Is it ethical to meet our recycling targets when we know it’s being shipped thousands of miles to be burned? Does any of this play into climate change agreements, anybody know?

        2. garthicus

          Yes, it’s cleaner when you factor in taking oil/coal/gas from the ground, treating/shipping/burning it etc.

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      Two small points. 1. I had never seen a photo of Mary Wilson and had always imagined her as a sixty year old ‘former Nun’ type, judging from the tut tut attitudes and the firmly establishment line spouted by her on her drive time show.

      Secondly, my heart bleeds for these operators whose profits are being diminished (mainly due to their price gouging) on the sale of waste which could and most certainly should be processed in this country.

  2. Donal

    Recycling rates in this country are much lower than in other EU countries, Germany and Austria spring to mind.
    The responsibility is on each of us to put stuff in the correct bin, they can do it elsewhere so we can do it here.
    It’s not rocket science, and the excuse that “Not everyone with babies in nappies has….the presence of mind required to always throw the right waste into the right bin” is nonsense. It’s a nappy, it’s a bin. it is selfish laziness and a couldn’t care less attitude that is the major culprit here, and if some people are so hard up for cash they can use washable cloth nappies and save on buying nappies and the cost of disposing them.

  3. Black and white

    Sorry, but I can’t accept that looking after small weans makes anybody too tired or confused to put stuff in the correct dustbin.

  4. Junkface

    Most Irish people I have shared a house with over the last 10 years are too lazy to properly use the different bins and recycle properly, especially lads from the west. They just never recycled before and throw plastic and cans into the black bin instead of the green bin. It drives me nuts but they don’t recycle anything out west, they told me. So the bad habits persist.
    Also in Dublin city apartments, many buildings have no green bins at all. Everything goes to landfill bags. It really is backwards.

    1. Anne

      They don’t recycle out east either it seems. eh hello mcfly, fingal is out east there. Panda – bin company on da east.


    what the f are the companies complaing about.. they get paid for your recycled products.

    akin to you paying the shopkeeper 5p [rather receiving it] in the 80’s for an old lucozade bottle & then the shopkeeper complains you haven’t washed it out

    with their unaccountable with their cayman bank accounts

    1. Chuck

      This: “It was revealed on Wednesday that 160 containers of waste for recycling in China were stopped in Rotterdam because of contamination. The rejected waste is being sent back to Ireland at a cost to the recycling industry here of some €500,000.”


        I saw that.. point is you pay them to take away your recyclable items which they then sell.

        If there was a genuine concern about the environmental issues,… the gov would have included
        a clause in their multi-million euro contracts whereby they would have to collect recyclable waste at no charge to the customer, & then stiil be free to sell it on.

        If they werent charging high for the black bins in the first instance they wouldn’t have as many households f’n stuff in the green bins.

        The lazy f’s are too tight to pay for the green bins to be properly stored through at their centers..appears they just dumped the lot in containers & hoped for the best.. now they are blaming the people who paid them to take it away to be sorted in the first palce.

      2. Norbet Cooper

        Aside from the can’t be bothered/don’t give a poo ignorance of people’s waste habits. If the waste companies bothered to check it properly and that it met the correct standards before it left, they wouldn’t be wailing about a dint in their profits.

        1. Kieran NYC

          People employed by those companies literally have to sift through sh.. by hand.

          Of course they’re not going to get everything. Especially if you have to deal with nappies and dead dogs.

  6. Rob

    So because you have a few kids you automatically forget which is the right bin?
    Sorry as much as I hate waste companies that is a lame exscuse

  7. Bob

    Surely this is an issue with sorting after collection. the general wasn’t stripped outta the recyclable waste. Tins, plastics and papers etc are separated at the depot so any general waste should also have been removed. So there should not have been that many containers contaminated. I reckon its the waste companies just sending the poo-poo in order to lobby the government on recyclable waste fees.

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      An excellent point, Bob. Since the waste is sorted prior to being containerized and contamination should be discovered, yours is the only rational explanation.

  8. Spaghetti Hoop

    Okay….back to the classroom needed here. Or ‘public information’ by its proper term.
    There are actually parents who flush baby wipes down the loo, and probably excuse it too as if the world absolves all of the sins from those who reproduce.

    1. Goodnight Ireland

      It’s unreal. We had a shared drain for a couple of houses that had a blockage. They found wipes and nappies down it?!

  9. Goodnight Ireland

    Yes, it is more expensive when you have babies and have to dispose of their nappies. No, you should not be excused for putting them in the green bin.

    Forget class etc. it’s about caring. People whom don’t use the correct bin just don’t care. They should be fined.

    1. Junkface

      Yes if they were fined it would certainly make them remember which waste goes into which bin. I mean its not hard, it takes an extra 5 or 10 secs to seperate the waste to each bin. If they could start a campaign to tie in all the of the patriotism about Ireland, to actually treating the place well and disposing of waste properly that might help.

  10. Otis Blue

    It seems like the waste management industry relies on a lot of trust.

    The consumer to do the right and ethical thing.

    The waste companies not to dump the detritus in the Wicklow mountains.

    Seems too big an ask.

  11. Fully Keen

    Electricity, house tax, car insurance, house insurance, fuel, heating, car tax, phone, internet…

    Lazy pricks will always be lazy but I think some people just can’t afford to pay more.

    People should be fined though. Recycle or don’t.

  12. Alex Francis

    just put your crap into a nice paper brown bag like you get in an off licence thus avoiding detection by camera.
    stick that up your bottom panda.

  13. Talismania!

    If you’ve made the decision to have a baby, (article 8 notwithstanding), that includes the decision to dispose of the baby’s wastes correctly. I don’t like the idea of cameras, but Panda should hire quality inspectors and determine a scheme for correcting the situation, i.e. if someone puts out a contaminated bin, it is logged/recorded by the inspector, gets lifted as a black bin for full charge, + some sort of nuisance fee. Repeat offenders get termination of contract.

    The green bins are free because Panda relies on being able to sell on the uncontaminated recyclables. You’re effectively raising the rates on the rest of us if you contaminate the recylcables.

    1. Kieran NYC

      “Repeat offenders get termination of contract.”

      Where do you think the waste would go then?

      They’re not suddenly going to become good citizens.

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