Mullingar mayor moves to avert ‘bins war’

Steps were taken at this week’s town council meeting to prevent the outbreak of a ‘bins war’ across the county, after Mullingar’s mayor raised concern over the question of the ownership of domestic bins.

Cllr Ruth Illingworth said that refuse companies operating in the Mullingar area, citing Oxigen in particular, were putting stickers on bins outside private houses, and that there was confusion among members of the public who believed they owned their bins.

“What concerns me is who owns the bins. Oxigen feel they have purchased the bins, but the problem is people believe the bins are theirs. My understanding is that in some cases people were told they didn’t need to get a new bin. I would like to clarify for the public who owns the bins. People are asking if they do not want their bins collected by Oxigen what do they do?” asked Cllr Illingworth.

County manager Dan McLoughlin was on hand to clarify the matter, and explained that all the blue and brown bins previously owned by Westmeath County Council had been sold on to waste management and recycling company Oxigen, who had been given a database of all bins that had been owned by the council.

“If people don’t want to do business with Oxigen they should ask them to take away the bin and get a bin from their new company,” he said.

Cllr Ken Glynn said while the “level playing pitch” in the waste collection market represented good news for consumers, he did not approve of companies entering private property to claim ownership of bins.

“It is good for consumers to have a choice. The cost of refuse collection is going to go down. We had to take the difficult decision to stop collections as we couldn’t compete in the market. I understand what the position is but I have issue with private property being entered and people putting stickers on bins,” he said.

“If people didn’t pay for the bin then it’s not their bin,” suggested Cllr Aidan Davitt. “If people don’t want to use them they can give them back.”


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