The county council more than halved the per-car charge for its three recycling centres, matching the reduced rate announced by the private company that is operating the three other recycling sites in the county.
Bryson Recycling Ltd., a Belfast-based company, took over operation of the former council sites in Letterkenny, Milford and Stranorlar in January of this year. The county council continues to operate the sites in Dungloe, Laghey and Carndonagh. Formerly known as civic amenity sites, all six sites were rebranded as recycling centres this year.
Bryson has also expanded opening hours at the three sites it operates, though hours at the council-operating sites have not changed.
Bryson reduced the recycling charge at the three centres it operates from €10 to €4 per car, a reduction that the council matched in the three centres it operates.
Regularising the charges for all six centres “was the sensible thing to do,” Joe Peoples, the council’s acting director of service for water and environment, told the council’s water and environment services strategic policy committee recently.
It is Bryson’s intention to increase the list of wastes accepted at the sites, Mr. Peoples said. He said the company intends to keep their opening hours and charges under review, and have also expressed an interest in exploring options to operate the county’s other recycling centres.
Mr. Peoples said the new arrangements represent “a significant benefit for citizens and the council”.
The director of service said that in addition to the reduction in charges, the reduced rate can also result in potential increased use of the sites and improved recycling rates for the council. Because Bryson also staffs the sites it operates, the council could redeploy council staff from those sites to monitoring and enforcement of waste regulation, he said.
Fianna Fáil Cllr. Ciaran Brogan, a member of the strategic policy committee, suggested that a representative from Bryson meet with the committee.
“It is important that we as a local authority are there to facilitate them and help them in any way we can,” Cllr. Brogan said, adding that it was also important to get the news of the reduced charges out to the broader public.
“Letterkenny has a state-of-the-art facility and is not yet used to its full potential,” he said.
Councillors also welcomed the redeployment of department staff from the centres to litter monitoring and enforcement, and the use of cameras to catch people littering or dumping rubbish. Committee member, Fianna Fáil Cllr. Seamus Ó Domhnaill, asked whether the council had a full complement of litter wardens, with at least one per electoral area.
Mr. Peoples said there was redeployment necessary to cover the large spread of the county, and added, “It certainly would be my intention that we would apply the resources where needed, irrespective of geography”. He also said the council would target litter-monitoring resources to high-priority areas.
Suzanne Tinney, waste awareness officer with the county council, told councillors that Bryson intends to carry out a campaign to promote the new charges and the service in the coming weeks.