Onstreet Dumping & Waste

There is a problem with onstreet dumping in Dublin.

This Dublin City Beta Project aims to explore this issue and begin to develop and prototype solutions. It is likely that it’s what’s often called “a wicked problem” – ie it’s highly complex with no apparent easy solution.

dumping + poster(We spotted the above on the South Circular Road recently.)

Dublin City Beta Projects follow an A-F stage process, and the below is written to follow that format. The plan is to update the relevant section as the Beta Project proceeds.


  • About 4,500 bags are currently dumped onstreet in Dublin every week.
  • This is not a new problem. It has always happened but Dublin City Council used to take all waste away as part of the waste collection. It is has now simply become very visibly apparent since privatisation of the waste collection system, as the private waste collectors only collect the paid-for waste (which clearly highlights what’s left behind).

The issue has a few results…

  1. The issue is currently costing Dublin City Council €675,000 per annum.
  2. There is a visual issue.
  3. There is a health issue.
  4. There is a movement issue.
  5. There is an amenity issue (children playing onstreet etc).

There has been a fair bit of discussion online about the issue, including the online comments. Some of those can be seen on the Journal.ie and the Irish Times (links provided are to the search terms rather than any individual articles as there have been a lot).


There seem to be 5 main factors resulting in onstreet dumping…

  1. Paid-for Waste not being picked up by the Waste Collection Companies due to…
      1. using the wrong bag
      2. because of ripping
      3. being too heavy
      4. having the incorrect contents
  2. Paid-for Waste being put out on the wrong day (so potentially sitting onstreet for 6-13 days before it will be collected)…
      1. People don’t have the space in their small (warm) flat to hold rubbish for a week (or more in the case of recycling) so as soon as they’ve a full bag, they tag it and put it out onto the street.
      2. Landlords are responsible for providing a storage area for waste…but not the waste itself. Some landlords, however, don’t appear to be providing such a storage area (and so residents put their rubbish onstreet).
      3. People may be unsure of what day to put them out. (For example do you sometimes assume that it must be recycling day when you see that a neighbour has a recycling bag out, only later to find that they had the wrong week? Well, when that happens, sometimes people then leave the bag out for the week.)
  3. People not even thinking about paying for their Waste…
      1. For some it would sometimes appear to be a misunderstanding of the rules here (for example in many other countries, waste is dropped by residents at certain pick-up points onstreet – and the collection of it is covered by local taxes).
      2. Others have ‘bigger problems’ (social problems, addiction problems, etc)
  4. People not being financially able to pay for their Waste…
      1. Some cannot afford to pay for bin charges.
      2. Since introduction of payment for recycling, some now cannot afford their waste costs (before the majority of their waste collection was free, and they could afford to pay for a small amount of ‘black’ waste). They often then begin to instead combine all their rubbish and put it on-street without a payment tag.
  5. People choosing to not pay for their Waste…
      1. Many do not feel any connection to, or pride for, the area in which they live and these areas tend to have high levels of rubbish on-street.
      2. Some simply make the choice not to pay. (“I’ll spend that on X instead.)
      3. Some see paying for waste as a ‘bin tax’ and wish to continue to protest against paying for it.
      4. People driving from other areas of the city to specifically dump their rubbish.

Here’s some more information which you may find interesting…

  1. The current process…
      1. Currently if a bag is untagged it’s not collected by the private waste operators as it’s then technically ‘dumping’ rather than ‘waste’.
      2. It’s not collected by DCC Waste Staff who empty the street bins, it’s left as evidence for the litter wardens. There are 19 litter wardens to cover Dublin City Council’s area, which is a low figure to cover the current scale of the problem.
      3. Generally 25-50% (depending on the scale of dumping on the particular day/week) of all dumped bags are searched by these litter wardens to look for identification information. About 10% of those will yield information leading to the dumper. (Many offenders rip the address portion off any letters, etc, to avoid detection.) Therefore generally less than 5% of dumped bags will result in yielding the address of an offender.
      4. These (max) 5% then are brought to court, but are often not charged due to the individual circumstances and various legislation.
      5. The above isn’t working and is very demoralising for City Council staff.
        (One of our litter wardens gave the example of searching through the dumped rubbish at a particular blackspot for 4 years before he finally was able to find a piece of identification. When it went to court it didn’t result in a prosecution.)
  2. CCTV as a solution generally isn’t satisfactory.
      1. The problem is too widespread and CCTV is expensive to provide (apart from any other concerns).
      2. CCTV also can’t be secretly done (it must have an accompanying sign, etc) and so tends to simply move the problem ‘around the corner’.
      3. CCTV also only tends to work when a vehicle registration is connected (for example someone driving to dump somewhere), as otherwise it tends to be extremely difficult to ID a random person.
        If they become aware of CCTV in an area, offenders (of all ages and sexes) will often use tricks such as wearing hoodies to hide their image.
        Neighbours often do not approve of dumping, but draw a line at having a neighbour convicted – and so are unwilling to identify a neighbour.
  3. Naming-and-Shaming isn’t an option at present.

We are specifically mentioning these 3 items as they often appear as suggested solutions for the issue, so we’re going to suggest that we take them off the table to move the discussion into other areas.


Dublin City Council’s ‘North Inner City Area Office’ have recently been looking at various options recently. They are hoping to find a sustainable, long-term solution and would like to trial some Beta Projects to explore the whole area. (These will, as always, be carried out in the Beta Area.)

Dublin City Beta Projects Thoughts & Questions:

  1. We expect that there will be no ‘one solution’ to this as there are many different reasons as to why it’s happening.
  2. Do you have any suggestions as to how we could think about this in the opposite way, and generate ‘positive’ ways of solving the issue (ie carrots)?
  3. We’d also be interested in the potentially ‘negative’ ways (ie sticks). However, we’re less interested in these as we’d suggest that these tend to be less sustainable and require more regular input of resources (money, time, energy) to maintain them.
  4. If we again think wider, and think about waste in general in the city, and about things such as the waste pyramid, do you have any suggestions?


We don’t mind if you ‘go wide’ for a moment, as the below Stage D prioritises various solutions, so we can always ‘narrow back in’ later on…being creative is usually the harder part.

We’ll update this Stage C shortly with some suggested solutions of our own, and AS ALWAYS, we would be very interested in hearing about any thoughts or suggestions that you have!


We will update this stage once the above has been further discussed/developed.


We will update this stage once the above has been further discussed/developed.


We will update this stage once the above has been further discussed/developed.

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This entry was posted in 2. Environmental, 3. Moving About, Beta Project macro, Beta Projects, Public Realm, Shane. Bookmark the permalink.

77 Responses to Onstreet Dumping & Waste

  1. Great stuff. We will get back to you on this one.

  2. antoin says:

    I would focus on the idea that the litter wardens and the council can’t solve this problem, they can only support the community to resolve it.

    I would do this through flyering the area, to tell the local people that the Council knows about the problem and wants to help dealing with it. I know there is all the problem with displacement to neighbouring areas, but I would do maybe 50 or 100 houses in a single campaign.

    The flyer should also provide information about when the actual waste bin days and times are. You have to be sure for the duration of the campaign (at least) that the collector actually collects at that time.

    Part of the campaign would be to give a *mobile* number for the key litter warden dealing with the issue. Also, a date and time should be set when the litter warden will visit for 30 minutes to assess the situation. The warden should be there on time and visibly available in case anybody wants to talk to him. People probably won’t, but the fact that he is there and visible and showed up when he said he would will make a difference.

    I do think the biggest thing you could do on a macro level is to get collections done at the exact time and day they are supposed to happen. (My collector picks up at a fairly random time, and usually they collect illegally in the middle of the day. I am in the CBD.) Then get people to put out the rubbish only a few hours before the collection. This reduces the period in which illegal dumpers can casually drop a bag without drawing too much attention.

    Also, there is genuine confusion about what days collections happen on. My collector changed the date of the collection, but never informed residents. It made for a right mess on the street for months.

    I looked at the waste bye-law a few months ago in connection with something else. It is not a great piece of legislation and it is not particularly clear what bye-law is currently in force. It is heavily balanced against the collector and places ridiculous, impossible obligations on the householder.

    • DCCbeta says:

      Thanks Antoin…as always, great feedback.

    • I agree with Antoin. Myself and my boyfriend Kevin single-handedly tackled litter on our street – North Summer St. When we moved here 10 years ago, the litter was pretty bad, but nothing compared to these days. We sent out quarterly newsletters on the street (residents committee paid for printing) always educating about bin days, recycling days etc, engaged in a bit of community spirit, worked with landlords – started a community garden at the top of the street. The result, our street is now clean, for the most part. It totally disgusts me to see what’s going on on North Circular Road, a few doors from our house.

      A door to door campaign might be a good idea in the short term. If nobody confronts them about the dumping, there is no problem.

      However – that’s all well and good, but as Antoin said, the bye laws need serious attention, and attention must be put back on the landlord. A hard ass solutiuon is to make all landlords responsible for the provision of a properly contained and stored waste disposal system. Have one tenant (or agent) take out the rubbish every week, and put the bins back. Have this cost included in the rent. If bins are overflowing or dumped on their property, the landlord is fined, and fined heavily.

      That system is in place next door to us. A tenant gets a portion off her rent to bring the large bins out every week and bring the bins back in after collection. I have lived in cities all over the world and nowhere was it up to the tenant of a flat in a house to get rid of their own rubbish. There was always a skip, and there was always a person appointed, paid, whatever – to dispose of the rubbish. The cost of that disposal was included in the rent.

      This needs to change.

  3. Jim Jameson says:

    Due to poor city planning many residential areas in Dublin dont have the capability or space to store rubbish or bins to put rubbish in so the bag go out on the street. In amsterdam and many European cities they have underground compressor bins like the ones in the photos below, (paid for out of local charges / taxes incidentally) provided :

    These could / should be installed by dublin city council. and if necessary a scanner on a barcode on the Tag would allow access for the bin chamber to be filled once.
    They could also be provided for various waste streams.

  4. BLEND Residents' Committee says:

    We are a north inner city residents association (BLEND – acronym of surrounding streets that define our area, Blessington, Eccles, Nelson, Dorset) comprising of less than 150 small cottages, Victorian artisan houses and a few modern flats. We’re plagued by rubbish dumping, for all the reasons mentioned above, and know that such dumping makes an area appear neglected with huge knock-on effects, i.e. vandalism, petty theft, anti-social behaviour, violence, more dumping and yet further neglect. Residents have had enough, and we recently took it upon ourselves to look at other jurisdictions. As a result we are proposing to DCC that we become a pilot project to test out a multi-tiered, many-angled approach, in which residents (home owners & tenants of flats), Dublin City Council personnel, local businesses, our children all become involved to tackle the problem. We have such a vibrant community around here are are very proud of our small inner-city area, with residents who have lived in the cottages for four and five generations so we HAVE to solve the problem. Ww will keep you posted.

    • DCCbeta says:

      Thanks BLEND. If not too long/private, post up your suggestion here if you wish. Otherwise we’d love to see it at betaprojects@dublincity.ie (or if you don’t get a chance, we can easily follow it up internally here, no problem).

    • @BLEND. If you like, please email pictures of the dumping around your area to pictures@dublinlitterblog, or text them to 083 177 9583.

      We will report them to DCC for cleanup n your behalf, and also your photos will become part of the body of evidence we are building.

      Thanks & best regards.

  5. Clare says:

    I’ve noticed a visible increase in this issue in my area since recycling became paid, as opposed to the old free recycling bags scheme. Not only did this allow for those on restricted incomes to dispose of the majority of their waste without cost but also encouraged the splitting of recyclables from actual waste (though tbh i’ve never heard anything about how successful this is??)

    Since the start of paying for recycling, it has been difficult to find recycling bags in local shops (one of the main shops in the area told me that there wasn’t enough of a margin for them, so they weren’t going to stock them any more. Furthermore, we used to receive a calendar from Greyhound indicating which days they would collect recycling (it’s every other week). I haven’t received one of these calendars in more than 6 months. The result is that you have to try to remember week by week whether the recycling was picked up the week before, and I personally have accidentally left recycling out on the wrong week. As mentioned above, since the collection time varies massively, I ended up leaving the bag out for 24 hours before taking it back in, realising I had the wrong week.

    This to me places most of the responsibility on the recycling collectors, to inform residents better about when recycling will be collected (and to stick to it) and to make recycling bags ubiquitously available.

    If there was a means by which to subsidise recycling collection to return to the free days, I feel this would have a positive impact also, but don’t know if that’s feasible in the current economy.

  6. [ note: already submitted these ideas to DCCBeta via email. However, it occurred to us after sending that perhaps public visibility would be better. So that other members of the public could see the ideas and form an opinion, whether good, bad or indifferent ! ]

    @DccBeta. Here’s a list of ideas for you.

    They are divided into ‘carrot’ – positive, community, inclusive initiatives,
    and ‘stick’ – enforcement, debt collection, and so on.

    Eoin @ DublinLitterBlog


    Carrot ideas:

    Tidy Towns or an equivalent.
    Tidy Towns has been a big success outside the cities. Find a way of getting small sub-areas of a city eligible to enter. Local residents committee are a clearly valuable resource here. There are lots of Residents Committees in Dublin, many of them unhappy about the dumping. Perhaps small grants to them, for work on their area & its subsequent entry in the next competition.
    But that is just one suggested approach. The bigger goal is wider involvement across Dublin areas in the yearly Tidy Towns competition or its equivalent.

    Pride in Dublin.
    A campaign fronted by well known Dublin media or sports people, such as the GAA teams, to promote pride in our area and our city.

    Part-time cleaners.
    It was reported in media about 6 months ago that a new system was to be introduced. Persons in receipt of welfare would be given a voluntary opportunity to augment their
    payments with some paid hours of street cleaning. Not much has been heard since. This plan sounded like a good idea, is it still alive?

    Big Black Bin
    The system they have in London. The door to door collection is private, but every street also has easy access to a large, free communal bin which is operated by the council.

    Re-introduce street litter bins.
    Introducing the Big Black Bin would also permit the re-introduction of the ordinary street litter bins that have been removed as they were attracting bin-bags.

    Waiver system
    Reintroduction of the waiver system, via tags issued to people on welfare. As well as the social fairness of a waiver system (or at least a discount system), this is also an attempt to negate
    the difficulty of finding tags and recycle bags in the shops.

    Easier purchase of tags
    Along the same lines, a facility to buy the tags over the internet & get them posted out. Perhaps even the ability to print them out at home there and then, like airline tickets.

    Stick Ideas:

    Closer liaison with the private operators
    More effective liaison with the bin companies. Regarding such topics as
    — publicly known & consistent collection schedules
    — availability of tags & recycling bags
    — knowledge sharing re dumping incidents or incidents of missed collection

    Wardens on Every Truck.
    Put a litter warden officer on every cleanup truck. An aim could be for every bag to be opened there and then at point of discovery, in public view.

    Garda On the spot fines.
    There is a new law coming in later this year whereby a Garda can issue an on-the-spot fine of 50 euros for anti-social behaviour. Suppose illegal dumping was
    categorised as anti-social behaviour. Then conceivably a warden with identifying evidence, found in dumping, could call a Garda to deliver the on-the-spot fine.
    Court is avoided and the fine is collected efficiently.

    Outsource the enforcement
    Outsource the enforcement & fining. (as opposed to the collection service). This approach worked well with the clamping.

    Wheely Bins Only?
    Another way, perhaps more extreme, of tackling the deficiencies of bag’n’tag: Wheely bins only. Get rid of tags entirely.

    Leverage CCTV more Effectively whilst avoiding Court
    ‘Guerilla’ naming & shaming. Cheap, battery-powered, pop-up, night vision security cameras are available & could record hotspots overnight. Then, posters of the dumpers (caught in the act)
    could be posted up, with faces blanked out, upon nearby walls or lamp posts. These posters would remain in place for a number of weeks, as a deterrent to the small number of local residents engaged in the dumping.
    This idea may be difficult for legal or other reasons but it has 2 core strengths:
    (1) focused targeting of a specific hotspot and of its specific dumpers
    (2) avoid going to court with CCTV footage – which doesn’t work.
    Alternatively, the images could be used as part of a wider media anti-dumping campaign.

    Best Regards
    DublinLitterBlog Team

    • DCCbeta says:

      Thanks Dublin Litter, and cheers for the email this morn. You’re beating us to it – we now try to add all public social media comments here, and also emails/messages (once we check with the author! 🙂 Transparency reasons, but also helps to keep all comments in one place (both for debate, but also if looking back in a few years time.)

      Thanks for these suggestions!

  7. elaineedmonds says:

    I saw this out a few weeks ago but other obligations got in the way of me putting in my two cent. Im going to sit down later and give a proper reply but for now some comments;

    The landlord obligation to give space for waste storage; good luck! I work in property management and some buildings- wether poorly planned new builds or just awkward conversions- just dont have the space. Areas with a high incidence of this (south circular/flatlands etc) should have the onstreet ‘big black bin’ or community waste areas like the continent. A system of tags with a scanner to open the area could work?

    The confusion re collection schedules is ubiquitous, especially when you have 3 opperators on one small street picking up on different days, leaves waste on the street almost 24/7. communicating with the opperators can also be a huge headache. would posting the schedule in a designated place for disposal increase transparency both with their customers and so the community can see when other companys bins are meant to be out and if their neighbours are putting them out at the wrong time. Then again for this to work they would have to pick up on time…

    ‘rejected’ bags etc- should the companys be allowed leave behind bags when they have been paid for their service. Most of these bags are identifiable to the companies as to whose account they are on- should they not be collected but a fine applied to the account or a warning given to the account holder.

    Can waste accounts be prosecuted like TV licences instead- make all companies supply their databases to a central authority and check all households without an account…

    Anyway. Ill be back with more ideas later but its definitely a good overview of the problem and some good solution ideas coming up!

    • Antoin says:

      If the area is flatland and so high-density, there really should be enough business to justify two collections per week on through roads (i.e., excluding cul de sacs). It is easy enough to work this out from a survey.

      I think independent carters can do a good service if they are geared up right, but they aren’t that great at thinking things through. The City Council really needs to support their planning. (The same was true when DCC rang its own waste collection – they didn’t do a good job of planning what they were doing and often ended up making the work harder and messier than it needed to be.)

  8. Lorna Muddiman says:

    Have you heard about this initiative in the Netherlands – the Goedzak bag? Quoting its creators (Waarmakers): “Goedzak is a special garbage bag for items that are still useable. It’s a friendly way to offer products a second chance and stimulate sustainable behavior”. Could be interesting to see if something similar could be initiated in Dublin; it’s a new way to deal with “rubbish” – as the saying goes, “what’s one man’s trash…” Here’s an article on it: http://www.treehugger.com/urban-design/goedzak-good-thing-designs-new-approach-reuse.html and the official website: http://waarmakers.nl/projects/goedzak/

  9. Seth McGuinness says:

    I see a lot of positive contributions to this thread.

    – I think the re introduction of the waiver scheme, or, as mentioned already, an affordable communal scheme operated by swipe card could help. I believe DCC flat complexes (Hardwicke St, for example) get rubbish disposal charged directly with the rent, DCC could apply this principle to DCC owned housing estates.

    – The multi-tenant unit landlords should be obliged to provide waste management for their residents, it is simply not excusable for them not to, regular inspections should be performed by DCC to make sure that facilities are provided. Either that or by-laws should be introduced compelling landlords to register the amount of people residing in their complexes with DCC, and, with this information, charged services for waste collection should be applied based on the amount of people residing there, again, an affordable solution could be put in place.

    – Either practise enforcement or privatise it! (warden patrols that can issue fixed penalty points), doing nothing is not working.

    – As long as private companies are collecting waste, wardens should, on occasion, go with them to make sure they are doing the job they are supposed to do.

    – The introduction of by-laws stating when bags can be left out for collection is a good one, the law should also cover when collection can be made, wardens could observe compliance.

    Maybe there are more stick than carrot options above but DCC effectively gave people the choice to dump illegally when they divested themselves of the task of waste collection but didn’t bother with enforcement or control, and some people decided to dump, the choice needs to be removed! This will transform the city.

    Town waste disposal principles were applied to the city and it has been a disaster. It is not just a community issue, as described on many occasions, it is a city wide issue with many artery streets and paths into the city-centre being affected and it is getting worse, the pictures on the dublinlitterblog.com are only the tip of the iceberg. I really hope this is a genuine attempt to deal with the issue and some positive results come from it.

  10. Some comments here from Dublin City Beta Projects’ Facebook page which we’re copying up here to put all commentary into one place…

    I don’t have an example from another country, but I do have an idea…… we could make 6 and 7 year old kids litter wardens! They have such a great sense of civic duty at that age, and people find it hard to argue with them, and if they won money for their school for each person fined they’d really clean up OK, OK there are huge health and safety and child labour issues, so I don’t think it would be a goer , but maybe fake it for video, hidden camera style or similar to make a funny advertising campaign to “educate” people. And a whole series using kids and even made by kids, talking about how nasty it is when they play on the streets or walk to school etc, and their thoughts about all aspects of the issue, would probably be more effective at making people think twice. It would definitely be more effective than “it costs the council loads of money” IMO. And back it up with a special programme for national schools to help the reach, like with recycling, young children are an effective motivator of change in their parents.

    Rachael Ball
    23 May at 11:29

    Not sure I made it clear, but the whole campaign has to be funny or it won’t hold people’s attention.

    Rachael Ball
    23 May at 11:32

  11. Some comments here from Dublin City Beta Projects’ Facebook page which we’re copying up here to put all commentary into one place…

    Bottle Bank Arcade – TheFunTheory.com – Rolighetsteorin.se

    Simon O’Rafferty
    23 May at 10:23

  12. Some comments here from Dublin City Beta Projects’ Facebook page which we’re copying up here to put all commentary into one place…

    When in doubt, look at what the Dutch do;

    Refuse collection | I amsterdam
    Refuse collection varies between district and different rules even apply within …See more

    Cillian Adamson
    17 May at 11:04

  13. Here’s a Twitter conversation.

    (Go to https://twitter.com/re_dubhthaigh/statuses/339037895555948545 to see the full conversation!)

  14. Here’s a Twitter conversation.

  15. Here’s a Twitter conversation.

  16. [The below was sent into us by email from BLEND Residents Association on 27/05/13.]

    to be proposed to DCC
    (BLEND Residents’ Association)

    Enforcing landlord compliance with waste management bye-laws, e.g. Provision of proper and
    adequate vermin-proof, odour-proof, storage facilities for waste bags. Not visible from street – No dumping on front steps. We would also suggest that the one stable element in a multi-occupancy building is the landlord. Therefore he should be responsible initially for providing tags and recycle bags to tenants when they first move in – Will make them aware of dumping and more responsible.
    He can charge tenant for these, deduct from tenants deposit, if tenant is fined. Tenants often shortterm especially, in such multiple occupancy premises, and have moved on by the time they’re caught, so wasting DCC’s precious resources.

    More frequent collection – Holding rubbish for a week difficult in flats and small cottages.

    Purchasing designated waste bags from bin men when they come around, through pre-payment on iPhone, as well as much more much widely available in local shops, post office, etc.

    Or bags paid by credit card & received through post.

    Rubbish included in property tax so pre-paid for every household.
    Small postcard sized notices on lamp posts, specifying collection times and days and stating level of fine for non-compliance.

    Leaflet with time of putting out bags, day of collection, recycle, how to set up false-account, where to get bag tags, recycle bags (often not available in designated shops)

    Leaflet given (not put through letter box) by residents’ association to every household & speak to them about rubbish issue.

    Euro-bins for small areas like cottages – No bags on streets – (bar code to use solar compacting Eurobin – BIGBIN).

    Comprehensive array of recycle bins sited in area – No need for recycle bags.

    Bottles huge issue in this area & we’ve requested bottle bank for years. Proposed siting one at the railings near taxi rank on Eccles Street years ago. Heard nothing about that.

    Large posters on street poles (like dog dirt ones) – Humorous, cartoons. But slogans and pictures visible at every level – on waste bags, waste tenders, bin men’s barrows & vehicles, hi-vis jackets etc.

    Children designing & themselves visible on posters – indicating that dumping affects children – health & safety, ability to access area and play.

    Aliprop drink/food cans & plastic bottles cash for trash initiative.

    [We also met Pauline Cadell from BLEND this morning for a coffee to further discuss some of their ideas, and we’ve noted some of these – the ones not covered above – below.]

    BECAUSE many live in a very small house/flat with zero/negligible outdoors space, people like to put out a black bag every week (rather than holding onto it until you’ve a really full bag). This means that often people are putting out a bag with plenty of surplus space in it. They therefore see two options:
    1. Pay an additional €1.50 to also put out a recycling bag (ie pay €3.50+€1.50…ie a fortnightly average of €8.50) AND also have to keep your recycling for the fortnightly collection in your tiny/zero yard.
    2. Simply put all rubbish (including recycling) into the one bag and put it out every week (ie paying a fortnightly average of €7) and NOT having to store extra bags for an extra week.
    BLEND felt that many people are opting for option 2 and this is causing many people not to recycle.

    That it was possible to contact Greyhound (the company they specifically mentioned) in order to create a “false account” (giving name, address and mobile) which then will provide you with a text reminder the day before your waste collection. (If your house has a waste collection of wheelie bins rather than bags, you will have a “real account”, and will be offered this service automatically.)

    That there should be a way of locally providing a ‘brown waste’ solution.
    An example was given of the Sitric Garden in Stoneybatter generating so much ‘soil’ as a result of such a local solution, that apparently a local authority office (the exact details weren’t certain) collected it for use by their parks.
    Alternatively it could be made available to the local neighbourhood (an example was given of Dublin City Council providing soil to communities for planter boxes – this solution might substitute such a requirement/cost).
    An example was given of a system from London whereby you could bring your compost (in a compostable bag) to your local park. The local parks staff would take it, weigh it, note your details, and at the end of each year you were then eligible for certain ‘perks’ – one of which was flowers and soil. (The Parks staff used the compost locally within the park.)

    That recycling provision needs to be local and easy. That having to drive to a glass recycling point is both negative environmentally but the hassle also discourages people from using it (an example was given of entire bags of glass being left out for the ‘black’ waste collection, or being dumped onstreet).

    A point was also made that people that have to avail of bag waste collection services, rather than wheelie bin collections – ie most cottages, smaller terraced houses, Georgian houses, etc – have to pay more (€100 per annum was suggested)…and that this house types are predominantly found towards the city centre.

  17. David Armstrong says:

    I’ve recently moved from the ‘burbs into an apartment in the city centre so this bin bag issue is something that I’ve recently had to adjust to.

    When we first moved in, we were given incorrect information about the day of our bin collection, so we left our bags out only to find them uncollected the next day. We ended up having to keep the smelly bin bag in our apartment for 8 more days before the issue was sorted out. Our landlord was clearly at fault for giving us bad information, however the fact that we had no other option than to store the bags in our apartment for a full week longer than we’d planned was unnerving and very unpleasant. Every time an apartment dweller in my area misses the weekly collection, they will face almost exactly this same situation.

  18. Jackie says:

    Commenting on rubbish in the city, my 10 year old son said that cigarettes, cigarette packets and empty drink cans and bottles account for a significant amount of waste thrown on the path and street. We tested his theory on a three minute walk to our local shop in the north west inner city and stopped 10 times to photograph cigarette packs, cans and bottles.
    In my PhD research with children living in the city it became clear that this sort of litter, especially discarded aclohol cans and bottles, is frightening for children. It suggests to them that drunk people have been around, which makes them very anxious. They find the rubbish unsightly and disgusting, but the fact that in some cases it is actually frightening is very serious. Sadly I have no great solution. But I do think the council might lead a bit more by example. Some of the new signs on illegal dumping are located on fencing surrounding derelict, rubbish strewn DCC owned sites…

  19. Irish Times article “Is it time we got the bottle to return to deposit schemes?” (and comments)…


  20. Caroline Gunning says:

    I despise this scourge. Even my 7 year old child knows that if she drops so much as a sweet wrapper she must pick it up.

    There was a case in the uk where posters of eyes were placed in an area that had a high number of thefts from bike racks. There was a drop of 62% in thefts from the racks with the eyes looking over them versus the ones that had no eyes. Perhaps similar eyes could be used in waste hotspots to see if it deters some people. Cheap, simple and apparently effective, might be worth a try.

  21. Donal Bell says:

    In Portugal property tax includes waste removal. Property owners and visitors bring their waste outside to a location on the street and dispose of their waste in the respective bins for plastic, bottles, metals etc. the bin is quite small on the surface with the main part underground. These bins are emptied at night. We should copy this.

  22. Thomas says:

    Incorporate bin charges into property tax and then people will have no incentive to dump.

  23. Liz Bond says:

    Is the solution not in the problem? The punishment for illegal dumping is mandatory community service………specifically clearing illegally dumped waste and helping litter warden to go through waste and identify offenders. Regardless of a persons reason for dumping, seeing the knock on effect of it has to be a good deterrent and at the same time the manpower for dealing with illegal dumping has been increased.

  24. D8 Runner says:

    My 2 cents on this one:
    Regarding the CCTV problem, specifically the expense. Firstly, use plain clothes litter wardens/ inspectors. On the metro in Berlin, ticket inspectors travel on the trains and go entirely undercover and seem to be drawn randomly from any part of the population i.e. what looks like a student slouching against the window suddenly whips out an id badge and starts asking travelers for tickets. The next inspector is a middle aged man in a business suit and so on. Next, drop the inspector randomly around the city and arm them with i-phones or small cameras so that they can film dumpers discreetly and hand out on the spot fines (police in France will bring road traffic offenders to the nearest ATM so that they can hand over cash for fines). This would at least discourage the seemingly endless casual littering that goes on now and the overuse of public bins for household rubbish.
    But that’s just my 2 cents!

  25. José says:

    If rubbish can’t be collected out of taxes, at least the should be free collection points so the money excuse is not valid. This could be use in combination of recycling, for example bring some recycling and that would entitle to a free black bag of waste.

  26. Trish says:

    Dublin city council should manage the company and collection of waste, for every household and business, thereby all waste will be collected. Discontinue downloading these essential services to the individual homeowner of business.

    Dublin city council enters into an agreement(s) with waste collectors.
    Waste collectors pick up waste from every location on specified days
    Monies currently paid (or not paid) to waste collectors are paid to Dublin city council, through property taxes.

    End result : all waste will be collected and dumping will cease, in addition to extra costs incurred by Dublin city council to collect, pay inspectors etc.

    This is how it’s done in most North American major cities. It’s how it’s done where I live and never see waste dumped on streets. Everything is collected as the city owns the responsibility to collect all garbage. I’m happy paying for this service through my taxes – one less thing for me to worry about. And I live in a very clean city!!!

  27. Martin says:

    Introduce communal bins like you see in many European cities. Everyone then has access to the means to legally dispose of rubbish. To pay for these estimate the average cost to each household in the state and add to income tax or deduct from social welfare payment, on the principal that the polluter pays. Then put to tender for the private companies to empty these on a very regular, sometimes daily, basis so that they are never overfull.
    The reason for so much illegal dumping is the cost of legally disposing of rubbish; eliminate the option of not paying and the problem will be solved. It will also save huge amounts spent on ‘enforcement’ and cleaning up illegal dumping.

  28. Garvan Gallagher, who commented above, has filmed a great little 3 minute clip showing exactly how shockingly bad the problem is around his area. Required viewing.

    Please share this material as much as possible.

    We host it here, with thanks to Garvan:

    And Garvan’s original upload is here

  29. Journal.ie article 11th June 2013 & comments.
    ‘How you can help solve the illegal dumping problem in Dublin’

  30. leslie says:

    I’m sorry but I started reading & was redirected several times & am still no wiser as to what I can do with unsightly bags of rubbish dumped in my area. I thought it was a reporting facility.

  31. Gavin Daly says:

    We are proposing the following simple amendment to the law

    Residential Tenancies (Amendment)(No. 2) Bill 2012 is currently at Second Stage in the Dáil.

    We wish to propose that Dublin City Council seek and support an amendment to Section 12(1) of the Principal Act as follows:

    Obligation of Landlords

    Refuse Facilities
    1. It shall be the obligation of the landlord to provide that the house shall have access to suitable and adequate pest and vermin proof refuse storage facilities, which shall be provided in such a manner so as not to be visible from the public street; or to cause nuisance; or to detract from the amenity of adjoining dwellings

    2. It shall be the obligation of the landlord to ensure that waste is presented for collection in accordance with the Waste Management Act 1996 (as amended).

    3. Upon registering the dwelling under Section 134 of the Act, and on an annual basis thereafter, the landlord must submit to the Board a contract with an authorised waste collection agent, or any other details as the Boards consider necessary, to ensure compliance with the Waste Management Act 1996 (as amended)

  32. Antoin says:

    It might seem simple, but in practice, having everyone register and send maybe half a million items of post around is an enormous administrative burden on landlord and tenants. Most areas, most landlords and most tenants don’t have a problem. Why should they need to do this registration?

  33. Sara Norris says:

    This is a behavioural problem, which cannot be solved without the inclusion of those dumping the rubbish in the solution. The most efficient way to solve this is to create a focus group or a workshop with those who dumped in the past and work with them to find a solution, not against them. This is a basic principal in social design and human centered design. In other countries recycling is simple easy and free. Because it is not free here perhaps instead of punishing the consumer of packaged goods for their consumption, punish the producer of the product and charge them for the packaging disposal. The fact that when you buy two avocados you get a tray and plastic wrapping is absurd, it is a self packaged food item with inedible skin. Charge the producer for the disposal of these two pieces or encourage the producers to create a return packaging process. In Germany there is a process like this for tetrapak items. If people use glass jars they can be returned to the producer to be reused, but it has to be made simple for the user. If those who dump are not being helped on either side of the consumption of packaged goods, either through less packaging before consumption or free or packaging return processes after consuption then their behavior changes will be forced rather then them making a conscious sustainable change. Create a focus group though and encourage dome co-creation in the solution.

  34. Here’s a suggestion pointed out to us on Twitter.

    (Go to https://twitter.com/GriffeenValTT/status/359295703002013696 to see the full conversation!)

  35. There are a lot of good suggestions and valuable info on this page.

    So, is any of it being put forward to DCC for follow-up or for trialling ?

    Is there any way that those following this page can be kept up-to-date on progress in that area ?

    Is is possible to post any feedback from DCC (whether positive or negative) on the feasibility, on the likelihood of success, on the cost, and on any other aspect of interest for any of the suggestions supplied above ?

    This page has already proved itself worthwhile, good job DCCBeta. But now, we would not like to see the suggestions placed on the digital equivalent of a shelf and left to gather digital dust.

    Thanks !

    • seth mcguinness says:

      I second that! I would like to hear if DCC are putting any of the ideas proposed on this page into practice? I am sure the other contributors would too.

      • Hi Eoin, hi Seth, cheers for the comments.

        We were waiting for the comments on Stage C to fizzle out (ie the natural end of that stage). That was probably about 4 weeks ago.

        The only reason for any delay in the past 4 weeks is because of Beta being entirely run as a part-time innovation project in addition to usual workloads, administered (for eg coordinating the multiple DCC staff that eagerly work on the various projects/experiments) by one member of staff, and almost always entirely outside their area of expertise (so lots of learning which takes time).

        As we state at the very beginning of this, this is a “wicked problem” (multiple causes, multiple stakeholders, multiple areas of expertise, etc)…in the past we’ve found that creating a bit of space to think about the issue works best for those type of problems.

        We’re now hoping to blog on potential solutions this week.

        Re getting regular updates, Ré Dubhtaigh (of Civic Works – @CivicWorks) previously suggested the use of ‘week notes’ for Beta – mini, interim updates. Definitely something for us to look at.

        Thanks and apologies again for any perceived tardiness on our part.

  36. Have you ever considered creating an ebook or guest authoring on other websites?
    I have a blog based on the same ideas you discuss and would love to have you share
    some stories/information. I know my readers would enjoy your work.
    If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e-mail.

  37. BLEND Residents' Committee says:

    Where do we go from here? Surely the comments have already petered out at this stage and it’s time for some action. Our residents’ association were so frustrated at the inaction of DCC and their very publicly announced policy of “non-collection” of dumped rubbish back in April, that we re-bagged up twenty bags of seeping, stinking, uncollected refuse and placed them on the steps of the Civic Offices, with the press in attendance. For a short time DCC sat up and took some notice (including a threat to prosecute us) but everything is now back to “normal” – rats, human waste, drug detritus, food waste and ripped, leaking bags. Come on BETA PROJECTS let’s see some of the proposals put to solving the problem. There’s no lack of will on the part of inner city residents. The biggest problem is the non-elected, higher echelons of DCC’s waste management service who are answerable to no one.

  38. seth mcguinness says:

    So is this site and the proposals suggested here a dead duck? It has gone very quite.

    For what it’s worth – I noticed that, on a particular street (on the southside BTW) there were wheelie bins with locking lids outside each house on the street. These houses are not too dissimilar to other houses all over Dublin City with the same amount of outside space. Why can’t a system be put in place were it is required for landlords to provide these bins for their residents? There could be a fixed pickup charge as well! They could pass the charge on to their tenants.

    DCC effectively charge for waste services on the rent of their tenants in flat complexes around Dublin, it is crazy that landlords are not forced to do the same, I took a walk down the North Circular Road the other day, an area with a high concentration of MTUs, an insane amount of dumped bags outside of these complexes, with people walking out of these places and throwing bags onto the street under the cover of broad daylight while and ambivalent DCC seems little interested in creating or enforcing any effective plan or legislation. It is unacceptable that large parts of the city are left to rot while landlord welfare is not to be intruded upon. This is and easily observed fact that many here would gladly guide you through.

  39. louise.broe@Merck.com says:

    The illegal dumping of waste has become pretty bad, streets, parks, canals are all filled with rubbish. Remove the “pay as you dump” system i.e. bin charges & have a flat fee for collections. All waste collected for an annual charge paid annually, weekly etc
    I’m in Lucan & it’s bad – so it’s not just a city centre issue 😦

  40. Pingback: Themed Kanban Tables | Dublin City Beta Projects

  41. LitterBug says:

    This is not a fix to the problem but it might be a short term solution.

    Here’s the idea.

    ‘Amnesty System’

    City Recycling Centre’s could have an ‘Amnesty Area’ where illegally dumped street waste could be brought in and exchanged for rewards ( monetary, 25cent per bag etc or other? ). This system might incentivise helpful individuals to clean up and remove waste as they find it.

    These individuals who hand in rubbish might be requested to show ID and sign an affidavit declaring that the found rubbish does not belong to them, they might also be requested to inform the attendant where they found the rubbish so it would be properly investigated.

    Information provided that leads to a conviction would net the helpful individual a large reward. ( percentage of fine ?)

    It’s not perfect but it might lead to DCC gathering information about illegal dumpers while simultaneously cleaning up the city.

    A system such as the above would require relatively little infrastructure and investment. Currently there is no way ( that I’m aware of ) for a citizen to take affirmative action when they see street litter. This system empowers the individual to help make the city a better place to live.

  42. Pingback: Bike Hangar | Dublin Beta Projects

  43. stefania says:

    I was looking for a solution in my Area D1 and I have found this website. I was wondering if there are any updates. The illegal dumping of waste has become a huge problem and it seems it is difficult to find a solution.. I am just wondering if we could ask the Garda to check the area in the evening and to persecute the people who do this. The spots are always the same ones. It will be useful to have Garda one night a week to check just one specific area. This activity will be highly discouraged. On the other hand we need a massive educational campaign. This has to start in the schools. The problem is the mentality and it is difficult to change unless there are severe consequences and a deep understanding of the repercussions. In my country we were “bombarded” at school with these information and they used to promote clean up days where the families were encouraged to participate. Illegal dumping is more severe in areas where the kids are left alone and they are living difficult situations.

  44. The government in the irish republic are charging the people to get their bins emptied what’s the problem it’s only a load of rubbish why don’t they burn it like they do in sweden.

  45. Colm says:

    The above is a great overview of the problem plaguing parts of the city/entire country

    The privatisation of one of the most basic of State services – refuse collection – to For-Profit firms has cheapened the service to maximise their profit – minimum wage workers with little or no connection to the local community, do the job as quickly as possible etc..as is the nature of privatisation, but the state of the place is embarrassing. (North Circular Road Resident)
    The biggest problem is the monkey see-monkey do situation among certain elements within our community – Kids see their parents with nothing but absolute contempt for the rest of society and their environment and duly follow in their footsteps – it is a social retardation far too complex to be dealt with by the one litter warden the city has

  46. But a smiling visitant here to share the love (:, btw great design and style .

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