Pay-By-Weight: Opportunities & Implications

Jimmy-AMCSA joint CIWM & IWMA workshop, being held in association with AMCS Group will discuss the implementation of pay-by-weight in Ireland as part of the new Household Waste Collection Regulations. AMCS Group’s CEO, Jimmy Martin, discusses the opportunities that this presents…CIWM Journal Online Exclusive

black-bin-collectionsIn July 2015, the Department for Environment, Community and Local Government will introduce new regulations for all household waste collection on the basis of “pay-by-weight”. The introduction of the new system presents a significant opportunity for Ireland to improve the way it manages its municipal waste and should have a positive impact on service providers, householders and the way we manage our resources at a national level.

The regulations will impose an obligation on all Irish households to demonstrate that they manage their waste in compliance with legal requirements. In addition, the regulations will also seek to address areas of customer service, pricing structures and enforcement. Critically, it is envisaged that service providers will need to provide a pay-by-weight service for municipal waste collection.

While Ireland can be proud of having achieved one of the largest increases in recycling rates over the last decade (rates increased from 11% to 36% between 2001 and 2010), it remains one of the largest producers of municipal waste per capita, placing it around 5th on the European list.

It is hoped that this direct relationship between waste produced and cost will have an influence right at the top of the waste hierarchy; not only encouraging households to increase the amount of material they recycle but also reducing the overall amount of waste produced. It will, in effect, give householders the ability to directly control another of their household bills, just as they would with any other utility. The introduction of pay-by-weight across the country also presents an opportunity to better understand and manage our resources at a national level. Up-to-date and accurate information is critical when planning new infrastructure and in ensuring we have the right technologies and capacity, correctly located.

With this new system it is an opportunity to provide householders with access to their account information and further enhance the direct relationship and communications between the waste collector and the household. There are many efficient ways to manage this, such as online customer portals, dynamic calendars and customer mobile apps. Making this information available via web and mobile, will assist households to see first-hand the amount of waste they produce, their recycling rates and what it costs them per material stream.

While the financial and environmental potential for the new regulations is positive, there are also other benefits related to the data and information that will be generated. The on-vehicle technology to accurately weigh material collected has been available in the market for some time now. Where we are seeing a real step-change in the Industry however, is where waste and recycling operators use software such as AMCS’ ELEMOS to collect and manage information to achieve greater operational efficiencies across their business as a whole.

This information can be used to improve vehicle routing efficiency or better manage the resources collected for example. In addition, the ability to collect and transmit household waste collection information in real-time also provides significant benefits in terms of improved customer service and the prompt resolution of customer issues.

Outside of Ireland we are seeing the increased uptake of the pay-by-weight system across Scandinavia, northern Europe and North America. It is a big growth area and if we are able to position pay-by-weight in a more positive manner, and ultimately change perceptions, we believe that, in time, this system will come to market in a more significant manner in the UK. In the meantime, we must focus on the efficiency and cost benefits that the pay-by-weight system provides, as well as its ability to change behaviour through improved communication or reward systems.

For more information on the CIWM & IWMA Workshop at AMCS Group’s Head Office, Co. Limerick, please contact or visit



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