That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Waste Management Act 1996 to require the Minister to produce a report on the appointment of an independent regulator for the domestic waste management sector, including the regulation of domestic waste charges.
I am sharing time with Deputy Ward. We need to bring our domestic waste management back under public control and the purpose of this Bill is to kick-start that process. The Bill simply requires the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment to produce a report into the appointment of an independent regulator for the domestic waste management sector.
It is fair to say that, over the past 20 years, we have seen good and bad transformations in waste management. The bad is that the system has been fully privatised. Costs have gone up and on average householders are paying more for waste collection than ever before.
We have also seen, at the same time, significant improvements in the reduction of waste through the establishment of the green and brown bins. People are recycling more and using waste as a resource rather than simply as something to be disposed of.
The difficulty is that multiple operators are working in the country, meaning that six, seven or eight different operators are often driving into the same housing estates. That is not good for the environment or the proper sustainability of waste management. It wastes money, creates more emissions and does not provide an efficient service.
Sinn Féin has proposed that local authorities start looking at a franchise model as a stepping stone to full public ownership of waste management. Under such a model, local authorities would franchise out the service to contractors in certain areas. I understand that South Dublin County Council has done some work on this and Dublin City Council is doing a feasibility study and spending money to look at the possibility of rolling out this model, which is good. It would be good for the environment if we ended side-by-side collection.
This Bill sets an independent regulatory framework to allow the process to commence and give some coherence to what would be needed by way of policy. Local authorities need to step up to the plate but, if the Government is committed to, at the very least, ending the side-by-side collection service, it should support this Bill and I ask it to do so.