I propose to take Questions Nos. 498 and 526 together.
In line with the commitments set out in A Resource Opportunity - Waste Management Policy in Ireland, published in 2012, and in the interest of encouraging further waste prevention and greater recycling, the Government took the decision in June 2017 to phase out flat-rate fees for kerbside household waste collection. It is worth noting that this measure was not ‘new’ for about half of kerbside household waste customers, who were already on an incentivised usage pricing plan, i.e., a plan which contains a per lift or a weight related fee. As announced in mid-2017, mandatory per kilogramme 'pay by weight' charging was not introduced. Allowing for a range of charging options, which encourage householders to reduce and separate their waste, provides flexibility to waste collectors to develop various service-price offerings that suit different household circumstances.
A Price Monitoring Group was established to monitor the on-going cost of residential waste collection to homeowners across Ireland as the ‘flat-rate structure’ was being phased out. The Price Monitoring Group has considered data each month since September 2017. While fluctuations in prices and service offerings have been observed, the overall trend is relative price stability.
The Department is continuing the work of developing a mechanism to provide a support for vulnerable persons with a condition such as lifelong or long-term medical incontinence to help meet the average annual cost of disposing of their domestic waste. Issues which have arisen in relation to the GDPR include the principle of data minimisation, necessity and proportionality and using consent as a basis for storing and processing medically sensitive personal information. Notwithstanding this, I can assure the Deputy that I am committed to introducing an annual support as soon as practically possible in conjunction with relevant agencies and stakeholders.