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Crumlin Supermarkets Get The Packaging Back

category dublin | bin tax / household tax / water tax | feature author Friday December 12, 2003 00:39author by seedot Report this post to the editors

Anti Bin Tax Campaign keeps them trolleys rollin'

Taking back the packaging

The Crumlin / Drimnagh / Walkinstown anti bin tax campaign has started to return packaging to supermarkets under Section 29(i) of the Waste Management Act 1996.

Superquinn, Tesco and Dunnes all received trolleyloads of packaging.

After solidarity blockades, regular public meetings of 500+ and widespread non-payment (estimated at 80% +), the D12 campaigns tonight tried a new tactic - returning the packaging.

Each of the main supermarkets got a visit with about 15 at Superquinn, Sundrive Road and 50 at the Crumlin shopping centre (where Dunnes and Tesco have branches). The Supermarkets had got wind of what was up and had placed signs on the doors saying 'No Litter - we pay Repak and don't have to take packaging back.'

However, the campaign had letters to hand in to the store managers which quoted the relevant legislation

29 (i) requires the the owner or manager of a supermarket, service station or other sales outlet to provide, free of charge, specified facilities at such an outlet for the removal by customers opf packaging... and receptacles for the deposit of such packaging.

Each of those who returned packaging handed in the letter where they described themselves as ...

'a customer, consumer, environmentalist, a recycling fanatic and someone who demands that my rights be recognised'.

In Superquinn they accepted the rubbish, providing trolleys which were filled with packaging - I'll report later on how things went in Tesco and Dunnes.

Remember - Dec 12th the High Court, Monday 14th the estimates. The campaign hasn't gone away you know.

The Sweet Tale of a Small Bin Tax Victory in Dun Laoghaire Here
Every Sweet Tale Needs A Mr. Scrooge
Report on Anti-Bin Tax Campaign conference

author by Eoin Dubskypublication date Fri Dec 12, 2003 11:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well done everyone involved -- and thanks for sticking it up on Indymedia too. As far as I can recall if the business is a member of Repak they don't have to take back their rubbish. This needs to be challenged though, as Repak is a total cop-out.... What better way to challenge it than with a colourful, direct action like this! :-)

author by Manus - lppublication date Fri Dec 12, 2003 12:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is a very positive step on behalf of the Anti Bin Tax Campaign, clearly broadening the issue to waste management and environmental protection.

It not just the responsibility of the state to dispose of waste it also the responsibility of citizens to attempt to reduce waste, in this case from the source, forcing retailers to accept their responsibility and by doing so to force manufactures to reduce packaging. It is also worth while showing up the scam of Repack and to highlight the huge recycling defict in Ireland.

There is a broader issue in this debate, it's not just a social end economic issue.

It is unfortuante at times that some left wing groups are to economic deterministic in their approach.

author by P1 - Nonepublication date Fri Dec 12, 2003 12:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is great news. I have long been a fan of leaving packaging in shops but have been threatened with barring at supermarkets.

However the wording of the relevant part of the act is a bit vague. For example the preamble to section 29.4.i reads "Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (3), regulations under this section may provide for all or any of the following matters—" This suggests that it requires some subsequent implementation by the powers that be. Has this been done?

It is also interesting to read the subsection that follows the one quoted:

29.4.j requiring the owner or manager of a supermarket, service station or other sales outlet to impose a charge on a customer in respect of the provision by him or her to the customer of any bag, container or other such packaging in relation to products or substances purchased by the customer at that sales outlet, such charge being of an amount equal to the full cost of such packaging or to such other amount as may be specified in the regulations,

If this has been implemented it suggests that the cost of the packaging has already been included in the price paid at the till !

author by :-) - well pleasedpublication date Fri Dec 12, 2003 13:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

great.
and it works on a "micro" and "macro" level.
If the corps sell us non biodegradable packaging why should we carry the responsibility?

author by economistic?publication date Fri Dec 12, 2003 14:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Manus, the issue of waste management has ALWAYS bee a strong component of the anti bin tax campaign, even if this hasn't been reflected by the mainstream media. At anti bin tax meetings in communities all around Dublin, the issue of the lack of community-based recycling facilities is always brought up by residents. The bin tax campaigns have done research and have facts and figures on the pathetic level of recycling in this country. The campaigns strongly condemned the closure of the only glasss bottle recycling facility in the state and have called for more facilities for the separation of waste, which could then be backed up by local authority by-laws. The notion that the anti bin tax movement doesn't care about the environment is government and council propaganda.

author by Coragnepublication date Fri Dec 12, 2003 15:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Lots of people I know have been doing this for a long time. I myself have been bringing by packaging back each week on a monday (I do my shopping on a Saturday) for almost six years!

When I first requested this the manager and I discussed how best to do this. Initially I had to demonstrate the packaging was from the shop itself (by producing the receipt and cross checking against the packaging).

After about three weeks they said this was no longer necessary so I now simply seperate my rubbish into two bags "from Shop X" and "from another source" and simply drop off my "from Shop X" bags to the loading bay of the shop every week. I affix a copy of my reciept to the bag (so they can check if they want) and they happily take it and dispose of it for me.

I know of three others who do it at this particular shop and two others who do it at another location.

Note; The motivation for me is not the bin tax (which I pay) but that this is the most enviornmentally friendly way to get rid of the packaging.

I am glad that people are starting to do this... but the motivation is MONEY. The Anti-Bin Tax campaign is motivated by MONEY and money alone for all their rhetoric....

If the bin tax went away tomorrow would they campaign for better waste management solutions? Not a hope.


Evolution not revolution folks.

author by Ray McInerneypublication date Fri Dec 12, 2003 17:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I fully agree Coragne with the above quote

author by Anonymouspublication date Fri Dec 12, 2003 19:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Excellent stuff indeed. I hope that this catches on right across the city, and the country.

To the press I say with this. This is very printable (plus audio and visual) in the mainstream media.

Well done Coragne on doing this yourself for the last few years. If only we all did, I am too lazy.

But I think your being a bit harsh on the campaign. The essential principle behind the campaign in not money, it is "equality" and "fairness". The argument is that this is not an equitable charge in that a millionaire pays the same for his bin as someone who is living in poverty.

However I agree with to you the extent, that I think the campaign has gone too far on the issue of equality and socialism and not near far enough on the issue of environmentalism.

But I have no doubt that much of those who are involved and behind the campaign are green in their ideology. Socialism and Green criss cross one another all the time - and both share the same goal of justice.

But I think the Socialist parties may have jumped on the bandwagon a little too much on this one - and though I think they are essentially correct on their issues of equality on this, they are putting to this too much to the fore to the detriment of environmental issues.

Ps, Excellent original article - except, in my opinion, for the last statement "The campaign hasn't gone away you know" - Great catchy phrase this is - but I think is in poor taste and is tantamount to saying "the dismemberment of your children hasn't gone away you know". And the original quote of this did nothing to advance the dangerous times the peace process is entering at the moment.

author by Damopublication date Fri Dec 12, 2003 20:24author address Berlinosloeauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Well done to all involved. This kind of thing is what any campaign on waste needs, and has the potential to link up a number of issues. i'm against the bin tax as it stands but for a pay by weight system. I believe this type of action can help encourage the debate on the waste issue, which the existing anti-bin campaign hasn't seemed to have done.

author by seedotpublication date Fri Dec 12, 2003 21:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Coragne: I would disagree quite strongly that the bin tax campaign is purely about money. I would be interested in how a return to a Victorian, laissez faire approach to waste management (“Leave it behind if it isn’t paid for”) can be classed as evolution. For 125 years all bins have been collected – surely it is a regressive step to remove this service. From my viewpoint this is a public health issue – Bins were introduced as part of a series of public health measures in 1878. Those who seek a market solution are surely the people introducing money to waste management.

Re: The campaign hasn’t gone away you know – OK this was tongue in cheek – however it was spurred on by questions both here and elsewhere as to what had happened to the campaign. Mainstream media will cover a blockade – but not the week in week out slog of maintaining non-payment by handling the rubbish that the council is leaving behind. And the phrase has resonance (damn fine phrasesmiths them chucks ;-).

On widening the campaign – loads of ideas are being floated.
Down in Superquinn we talked to butchers who striked last year to stop only pre-packed meat being sold.
In schools they have a green awareness programme which seems to focus on car use – but I know of at least 2 schools in Dublin where composting, recycling and the packaging in the shopping basket are being introduced. While a flat rate tax creates no incentive to reduce waste, my 8 year old looking for a green badge definitely works in our house.

But when it comes down to it – I’m personally not that concerned about being made to pay for my rubbish (I pay anyway, and wouldn’t mind a progressive local tax). But my neighbours being left to rot really concerns me – some notional green ideal is not worth creating public health hazards in our cities.

author by Coragnepublication date Mon Dec 15, 2003 11:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Waste collection has always been paid for... by somebody.

It seems to me that the Anti-Bin tax campaign wants somebody else to pay for it on the basis that they are richer.

We have a progressive tax system where someone on €20k per annum pays abut €4k tax per year. Someone earning €55k per annum pays five times as much.

We all pay the same amount for water. We all pay the same amount for bread. We all pay the same amount for buses.

Waste disposal os no longer an INFINITE resource as it used to be, it is a finite resource as landfills are not enough. In order to encourage the right behaviour; re-use, recycling, reduction of use; we need to drive that behaviour financially.

As you can see from the above post ("I'm too lazy") enviornmental and social concerns are not enough. PS I am not criticising that attitude - with a spouse family job mortgage etc you have to prioritise. In reality recycling falls below those top four concerns... probably way below!

The ONLY way to motivate good behaviour is financially. It's like saying "please don't park here" without a parking fine to back it up.

Waste charges are here to stay. You really want to pay less? Bring back packaging to the shop. Make a compost heap.

Don't expect someone else to do it for you.

author by seedotpublication date Tue Dec 16, 2003 15:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Coragne, thank you again for your response. I am not sure what the overall thrust of your argument is so I am afraid I will have to revert to the pedantic Internet parctice of replying line by line.

>Waste collection has always been paid for...by somebody.

Totally agree with you. Having been disabused of the notion of Santa Claus quite a few years ago, I realise there is no such thing as a free lunch. Everybody knows waste management has been paid for... the difference is that since 1878 it has been paid for from a central fund (financed by either local or central government) which means that no rubish was left uncollected. My argument is not that it should be free - it is that this method made for a healthier, cleaner city.

>It seems to me that the Anti-Bin tax campaign wants somebody else to pay for it on the basis that they are richer.

It seems to me that people have been spinning like mad on this issue and this is one of the key lies. The anti-bin tax campaign does not renounce it's responsibility - it proposes that the method of collection that existed for 125 years should be retained.

>We have a progressive tax system where someone on €20k per annum pays abut €4k tax per year. Someone earning €55k per annum pays five times as much.

Thank you for explaining progressive taxes to me. I am not sure where the lesson fits in your argument, but I would ask whether you are proposing this is wrong? This would fit with your support for the bin tax - which is a regressive (not flat) tax in Dublin city. Due to the fact that i could claim PAYE relief on the bin tax, I would pay less than those who do not pay PAYE (1/3 of the working population according to our leaders). This means that since I have more money, I pay less in bin tax - i.e. it is regressive.

>We all pay the same amount for water. We all pay the same amount for bread. We all pay the same amount for buses.

Well actually, we don't. Leaving aside comments about my consumption of mineral water and focachia, we do not all pay the same for buses since we have a public transport system. Large numbers of people have free transport and we subsidise a variety of other bus services -school buses, remote areas etc. Public policy means we don't charge for buses on either a flat rate or a cost plus basis.

>Waste disposal os no longer an INFINITE resource as it used to be, it is a finite resource as landfills are not enough. In order to encourage the right behaviour; re-use, recycling, reduction of use; we need to drive that behaviour financially.

Lack of attention to externalities in waste management previously did not mean it was free - it meant the costs were absorbed by people other than those dumping. Landfills were only free for those who dumped, not for those who lived beside them. While I would propose that teaching the 3 r's is not necessarily a financial project, I really cannot see how the current mechanism for bin charges does anything at all to encourage the 3 R's. As I have said on a different thread, we have introduced a financial incentive to reduce use of plastic - the plastic bag tax. Paying for waste management through a tax on all plastic packaging, paid by the retailer would have a much more effective impact on our production of this waste than a charge with no relation to consumption patterns.

>As you can see from the above post ("I'm too lazy") enviornmental and social concerns are not enough. PS I am not criticising that attitude - with a spouse family job mortgage etc you have to prioritise. In reality recycling falls below those top four concerns... probably way below!

With a spouse, family, job, mortgage and subsequent impact on my free time I will choose to pay for waste management and avoid recycling - if finances were my only concern. Visits to bottle banks, seperating waste, buying my compost bin (the corporation ones are cheap but smelly, the wormer ones cost 175e), spending longer shopping since i go to the butchers counter instead of the pre-pack: all of these cost me time and money. If this was a purely financial decision I would hand over my charge and ignore the problem - done my bit, same as the retailers with their payment to repak. Has no real impact on the problem. Only environmental and social concerns motivate me to do something.

>The ONLY way to motivate good behaviour is financially. It's like saying "please don't park here" without a parking fine to back it up.

So all those schools programmes are a waste of time? The funding of environmental awareness programmes is a waste of time? I'm not sure how far to the right the green movement has moved, but shouting 'ONLY' doesn't convince me. I don't park in disabled parking spots. I don't see a financial risk - but i know the way i look at able bodied people who do that and feel it is unacceptale behaviour.

>Waste charges are here to stay. You really want to pay less? Bring back packaging to the shop. Make a compost heap.

How will any of this reduce my charge? 2 thoughts - I had foolishly believed i was living in a democracy, where the people could have an impact on public policy. You obviously don't believe that this is the case (do you support the attack on local government in the 2003 environment act?). 2nd thought - even if someone produces less waste, on public health grounds it should be collected every week.. Under the proposed systems, people will be motivated finacnially to leave rubbish uncollected, rotting, on their property creating a public health risk. The women next door lives on her own. She doesn't fill her bin. I don't want to live next door to rubbish that sits there for a month because she has been encouraged to put her bin out less often.

>Don't expect someone else to do it for you.

Do what? Surely handing over 195e a year and maintaining the same wasteful consumption patterns is doing exactly that. But I don't expect anyone else to do it for me - neither you, the green movement or our elected leaders. I will continue to read, think and act on this issue to try and protect the health of our cities against the neo-liberal attack on society that you and your ilk are perpetrating. As will the thousands of others who are active in this campaign.

(Since by now only the 2 of us are reading this, you can have the last word if you want ;-)

author by Phuq Heddpublication date Tue Dec 16, 2003 18:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So far from my very biased perspective Seedot has managed to rebuff the feeble attempt by Coragne to portray those that are anti-bin tax as somehow irresponsible, short-sighted anti-environmentalists. At the danger of derailing the thread I'd suggest that a quick gander at the Repak website http://www.repak.ie is rewarding in a small way. The last CEO has now headed off to become the bigwig for Coca-Cola in Australasia. There's a set of pretty empty PowerPoint slides presented by people from IBEC which points out that the "waste industry" is now worth EUR 1 billion.

The site highlights the "Green Christmas 2003" which again provides for the consumer to get in their individual polluting car and drive to one of the inconveniently located "recycling centers" (eg Fingal has only 3 way out the back of beyond as far as I'd be concerned). So this is a token recycling effort:

- Has an analysis been made of the amount of extra petrol consumed by all those individual consumers driving such a long way?

- Has an effort been made to reduce the amount of packaging so that we don't _have_ to recycle?

Of course it's unfair to ask answers from these questions about Repak -- they're a financially motivated company who would lose a major source of revenue if everyone were to reduce, recycle and reuse. Andrew Hetherington (Chief Executive Repak) is forthright about this in his address to the 2003 Annual Repak Conference : his bulletted overview includes the line "Repak - preventing levies on packaging".

So, there you have it. The central aim of the organisation promoted by the government as the way to encourage recycling is to prevent levies on packaging. This should come as no surprise given that the membership is large businesses. His slides show that 40% of waste (what waste? estimated how?), weighing 323,000 tonnes was recycled in 2002 at 1/6 of the cost per tonne of German recycling. (Why is this? Are the Germans doing some real recycling?). Finally Hetherington suggests potential double-digit increases in fees and asks members to "name names" and "point fingers".

Avril Doyle MEP in her contribution points out that Ireland is well behind in most recycling areas and probably won't be able to make the EU targets (which were already extended for a further 3 years for Ireland, Greece and Portugal) and that she has lobbied for their extension for yet another 3 years to 2012. She notes that the closure of Irish Glass's recycling plant leaves Ireland with no glass-recycling facilities, no metal recyclers (now that Irish Steel is closed), 1 paper recycler and little plastic recycling. One other item of note in her speech is the discussion of three recent court cases which affect waste/recycling: European Court of Justice (ECJ) ref: C-458/00 Luxembourg; C-228/00 Germany are the only two given. These specify what exactly constitutes "waste recovery" and Doyle notes that these won't affect Ireland because _we don't do any waste recovery_! The third one (no reference given) is apparently a definition of "packaging" and provides a "non-binding set of guidelines".

Pat "The Cope" Gallagher claims that Minister Cullen's 2003 Packaging Regulations mean that businesses have to have an "authorised" recycler collect "specified" "backdoor" packaging waste. This waste is not allowed to go to landfill. Notes that the EPA National Waste Database Report for 2001 indicates an increasing trend in waste generation

Adrian Goodrich (Chairman Repak; Managing Director Gallahers(Dublin) illustrates perfectly the assertion that PowerPoint slides facilitate stupidity ( "Don't canibalise [sic] resources" shall be my motto from now on). Perhaps more interestingly he asserts that the EU targets that Pat "The Cope" Gallagher mentions are unrealistic and that Repak is lobbying the government on behalf of its members (who are voluntarily associated businesses).



Gallahers (Dublin): http://www.irlgov.ie/committees-99/c-health/Rep-H&S/Page6.htm

Related Link: http://www.repak.ie
author by Coragnepublication date Wed Dec 17, 2003 11:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That's the most intellegent post I've read here in a while. You've made some good points (I'll admit my second post was a little poorly articulated).

I'll give it some thought and maybe post again later if I have anything to add.

author by Magspublication date Wed Dec 17, 2003 19:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am posting a report below from the Irish Examiner (on the basis that I have not seen it in other papers and the Examiner does not have a huge readership in Dublin). In addition it does not have any comment from anti-Bin tax people at all - which would seem to be against the 'balance' the media so frequently preach about. Maybe someone wold like to send a letter replying to Repak.

++++++++++++++++

Irish Examiner
13/12/03

Bin protesters ‘littering’
By Jim Morahan

ANTI-BIN charge campaigners have been accused of targeting the wrong people by returning trolleys laden with packaging to some Dublin outlets operated by Superquinn, Tesco and Dunnes Stores.

Repak, the recycling organisation set up for Irish industry, warned that the campaigners could be prosecuted for littering.

A Repak spokesperson said they were "very concerned," that its retail members in Crumlin, Ballyfermot and Kimmage had been targeted in the Bring Back Your Packaging campaign.

According to Repak, the protests caused disruption to the outlets affected and were "misdirected due to the fact that Repak members pay for the recycling of used packaging they place on the market and therefore do not have to accept back packaging".

Repak said protestors gathered in the different stores with used packaging and handed out leaflets incorrectly quoting Article 29 of the Waste Management Act as giving them the right to return packaging to retail stores.

However, the legislation exempted Repak members from taking packaging back.

Each of the main supermarkets received about 15 trolleys of packaging at Superquinn on Sundrive Road, Crumlin and 50 trolleys at Crumlin shopping centre.

However, the supermarkets were alerted to the campaign and had placed signs on the doors saying "No litter we pay Repak and don't have to take packaging back."

Repak chief executive officer Andrew Hetherington said: "Targeting Repak members with this campaign is unwarranted as these are the companies who are currently paying to ensure that used packaging is recycled."

author by NiallMcpublication date Thu Dec 18, 2003 23:34author email niallmcguirk at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Forgive my ignorance
If one brings back their packaginf to the supermarket there is no chance of it going through a recycling process. Therefore do we only bring back non-recyclables?

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