The use of non-reusable plastic bags is being phased out by a Donegal waste collection company
A Donegal waste collection firm is phasing out the use of non-reusable plastic bags for the collection of waste across the county starting this week.
Donegal Waste and Recycle is beginning the phasing out of plastic bags in Glencolmcille, Kilcar and Carrick.
Customers will no longer be able to purchase the recycling and refuse bags and must replace them with wheelie bins.
The company says it is obliged to phase out bags as they are not approved receptacles under waste management regulations which were introduced in 2016.
The company will continue the phasing out of plastic bags over the coming weeks and months. The phasing out will continue in Killybegs and then gradually be extended across the county.
Concerns have been expressed that the changes will impact on householders who live in areas which may be difficult for bin lorries to reach.
Under the regulations, local authorities are able to designate areas as exempt from the regulations which would allow the continued use of plastic bags.
Donegal Waste said only the local authority can grant an exemption to allow the use of plastic bags and they can only do so in a particular area only if it is unsuitable for the collection of bins.
Local councillor Niamh Kennedy said the bags will be issued to customers who enjoyed the convenience of them.
Older people liked them and they were handy for them to fill a bag and put it out or put it in the car to leave it out.
“There are areas in other local authorities where bags are allowed and these would be in areas where there are high rise buildings or narrow streets.
“I know it is about change and people don't like change. The company has said if an oil lorry can go up a road to a house then the bin lorry can go up.”
Conor Walsh, secretary of the Irish waste management association, said the regulations are aimed at removing plastic bags from waste collection as they are not hygienic and bring issues with vermin.
“Bags are not a good idea but there are some people who can't have bins. It is up to the local authority to determine who can't have bins.
“It is within the gift of a local authority to designate an area as a bag area if it is deemed not suitable for bins.
“Local authorities are enforcing the policy, but it is difficult for a waste collector to engage with it if it is not supported by their customers.”
He said customers who feel their circumstances require refuse bags to bring it to the attention of a local councillor or the environment section of the council.