Local Fianna Fáil Senator, Lorraine Clifford Lee is urging local waste operator Panda to roll out a quality public information campaign to consumers before it starts to implement its new Terms and Conditions.

Senator Clifford Lee made the request after being contacted by many local people, especially older people, who are very concerned about being penalised for making honest mistakes with regard to waste collection and recycling.

“Panda’s new T&Cs would mean that even an honest mistake of putting one plastic bag into the blue recycling bin could result in a fine of €25.

“This, without a proper information campaign to householders, would be very unfair, and would, I believe, be just a way of increasing profits for the company.

“I am also very concerned by Panda’s changes to their contracts that would allow them to entering a person’s property to inspect their bins. This seems very heavy handed to me, and without justification.

“These contractual changes, introduced without any form of public information campaign, are a direct response to Minister Naughten’s changes to the national waste collection regime.

“It appears to me to be, for all intents and purposes, a mechanism to increase profits rather than reduce contamination by non-recyclable materials.

“No one, I believe deliberately chooses to put the wrong materials into the wrong bin. People’s lives are busy, and mistakes can happen.

“It would be better for Panda to work with their customers to help them what can and should be put in each bin rather than jumping in with quite an aggressive penalty scheme.

“I am calling on Panda to hold off implementing these new contracts and to work with their consumers and local community organisations to inform them on best practice in recycling,” concluded Clifford Lee.