My Department has been examining this issue in detail for some time and has engaged with relevant stakeholders, including representative organisations and the HSE, in an effort to see how best to support persons with long-term incontinence with respect to the disposal of medical incontinence wear. However, there are complex issues at play in this area, which are understandable given the sensitive nature of the medical data in question. These efforts will continue, focussing, in particular, on pricing trends. Since mid-2017, a range of charging options have operated, which encourage householders to reduce and separate their waste. This provides flexibility to waste collectors to develop various service-price offerings that suit different household circumstances. Mandatory per kilogramme 'pay by weight' charging was not introduced. A Price Monitoring Group (PMG) was established in mid-2017 to monitor the on-going cost of residential waste collection to homeowners across Ireland as the ‘flat-rate structure’ was being phased out. While fluctuations in prices and service offerings have been observed, the overall trend has been relative price stability. Results from the PMG are available on my Department's website.
In September 2020, I launched a new national waste policy for the period 2020-2025, A Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy. This plan contains a range of measures to empower households through enhanced consumer protection requirements. It also envisages an enhanced monitoring of the market to ensure no changes occur in the relative price stability.