Waste management is an essential service that must be organised with the consumer's needs as a starting point.
In October 2007 the Ministry of the Environment set a working group to prepare the reform of waste legislation. The objective is to update legislation to correspond with current areas of emphasis in waste and environmental policy as well as the requirements of EU regulations.
Service quality must be defined
Amendments to legislation on other essential services, such as the Electricity Market Act and the Water Services Act, since the late 1990s have involved the introduction of more specific provisions concerning requirements on service quality and other aspects related to the legal position of the users of the service. The Consumer Agency considers the inclusion of similar provisions in the new Waste Act very important.
Effective waste management is organised with the consumers' needs as a starting point and the services are designed to be flexible with regards to changes to consumers' needs and life circumstances as necessary. Services are reliable and of high quality. If the service fails to meet the specified requirements, the consumer is entitled to appropriate compensation for the defect, such as a proportional price discount. The fees charged for services must be reasonable and fair. Invoicing must be clear, with the fee structure clearly specified on itemised invoices.
The draft Waste Act includes certain necessary provisions related to the essential nature of waste management as a service, such as a provision concerning the quality standards for municipal waste management services. Citizens find it easier to accept the costs of waste management when the services are designed and organised in a customer focused manner and the provision of sufficient information to service users is ensured.
Waste management fee should encourage to reduce waste
The Consumer Agency supports the proposal intended to clarify invoicing and the pricing basis applied to municipal waste management fees. The waste management fee should be determined in such a way that its existence encourages consumers to reduce waste. As such, the proportion of the planned basic fee should not exceed the general costs of waste management that the basic fee is designed to cover in the legislative proposal. If the proportion of the basic fee is artificially increased, it is likely that consumers will not have sufficient incentive to reduce the amount of waste they create.
The Consumer Agency issued a statement on Waste Act reform to the Ministry of the Environment on 9 March 2010