Updated with GreenMT statement at 6.55pm

Waste collectors might have problems getting paid due to a dispute between the state waste management company and the private operator of a recycling scheme. 

In a statement on Friday, GreenPak co-op, which operates a packaging waste recovery scheme, said it has been left with no option but to inform waste collectors that payments due to them may be delayed.

This, they said, was because WasteServ, the state company responsible for national waste management, had taken “a unilateral decision” to withhold payment. 

In a statement, WasteServ categorically denied the claims. 

WasteServ said the issue revolved around the quality of recycled waste delivered to its facilities, with up to a third being rejected. 

The payments would now be deposited in court, WasteServ said.

Contract dates back a decade 

GreenPak provides a nationwide collection service for separated waste on the basis of a contract that has been in place since 2012. 

The company said the contract sets the rates which Wasteserv pays for the waste it delivers. In turn, Wasteserv then treats and exports this material to overseas recyclers. 

The operator said it had been in talks with the government over the matter of payment for several months, however, these had not yet yielded any solutions. 

“As a result, GreenPak, which relies on these fees, as well as contributions from businesses in line with their producer responsibility requirements, to cover the significant costs of waste collection, is now facing disruption to its cash flow,” the operator said.  

Meanwhile, WasteServ categorically denied the claims. 

Private operators, like GreenPak, deliver recyclable material – consisting of paper, cardboard, plastic and metal – to WasteServ and are then paid for recyclables and charged for rejects, the company said.

Rejects are made up of waste that cannot be recycled. 

Up to a third of delivered recyclables is rejected

WasteServ said separate exercises to identify the exact rate of rejects were carried out in February and again in June. 

This, the company said, is being done to ensure the schemes are paid for what they actually deliver.

During these exercises, it was found that the rates of rejects for the scheme in question were 33 per cent and 27 per cent respectively.

“This means that during the exercise held in February, 33kg out of every 100kg delivered were materials that could not be recycled, and when the same exercise was repeated in June, a total of 27kg of every 100kg were rejects," the company said.   

Rejects identified during these exercises included a vast range of materials ranging from clothing, bulky items, organic waste and also alarmingly dangerous materials such as clinical waste, dead animals, highly flammable substances or devices and other similar materials.

“Paying for the delivery of such reject material is clearly not an option as the state operator would be subsidising its own failure."

"This would drain WasteServ’s human and financial resources leading to shortcomings that will have long term impacts on the country’s environmental performance,” the company said. 

GreenMT says it has to stop paying collectors for a month

In another statement issued later on Friday, Green MT, another operator in the scheme, also hit out at WasteServ.  

It said the national waste management company had decided that since a large volume of waste delivered to it was contaminated, that it would deviate from the 2012 contract it had entered into with operators.  

It also said that WasteServ was requesting operators pay a tipping fee on the contaminated waste because this was ultimately being landfilled at a cost per ton.  

GreenMT said the state company had previously claimed that only seven per cent of waste was soiled but had now revised this upwards to more than a third.  

“It is not the scheme’s fault that some still put things they aren’t supposed to in their grey bags,” GreenMT said. 

The company said it was being negatively impacted by this decision and would be halting payments to waste collectors for a month. 

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