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  • NSAI Legal Metrology inspectors have been tasked with checking the accuracy of bin weights, to ensure quantities charged for are correct
  • New Pay By Weight bin charges system comes into effect on July 1st
  • NSAI’s pledge to help consumers and businesses have confidence in their weight comes on World Metrology Day (May 20th)

The new ‘Pay by Weight’ legislation for bin charges, introduced by the Department of the Environment, will come into effect on July 1st 2016, effecting 1.2 million households and tens of thousands of businesses across the country.

Under this new regime, waste companies will no longer be allowed charge an annual flat fee, or pay-per-collection fee to customers. Instead, waste bills will be calculated by weight. 

From July 1st, businesses and householders must be provided with three bins and minimum rates per kilogramme of waste will apply for brown bin/food waste (6 cents a kilo) and residual waste/ black bin (11 cents a kilo). There will be no mandatory minimum pay by weight charges for green bins / recyclable waste. 

There are approximately 750 bin trucks in the Republic of Ireland and NSAI’s Legal Metrology inspectors have been tasked with checking that all of them are weighting refuse accurately, ensuring the quantities charged for are correct. 

“Legal Metrology Inspectors will conduct regular nationwide inspections of all bin weighting equipment to ensure compliance with legal requirements and give consumers assured confidence that the weights used to form the basis of their waste bills are accurate,” said Paul Turner, Head of NSAI’s Legal Metrology. 

“All waste weighing systems used for the collection of waste under this new legislation must comply with the requirements of the Metrology Act, 1996. Therefore, if a bin company tampers with their weighting equipment, that will be prosecuted,” he added.

Listen to Paul Turner, Manager, Legal Metrology explain Confidence in Your Weight

It is hoped this new system will increase recycling rates and reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill. The pay-by-weight legislation has already been piloted in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown area where the amount of waste being put out by the public decreased by between 20 – 25% as soon as it was introduced. 
NSAI’s pledge to help consumers and businesses have confidence in their weight comes on World Metrology Day (May 20th).

World Metrology Day 2016

Metrology is the science of measurement. World Metrology Day is an annual event during which more than 80 countries celebrate the impact of measurement on our daily lives. 

This date was chosen in recognition of the signing of the Metre Convention on May 20th 1875, the beginning of formal international collaboration in metrology. The original aim of the Metre Convention was ensuring the worldwide uniformity of measurement. Today, in our dynamic world, this remains as important as ever.

Legal Metrology inspectors check that measuring instruments used in trade are accurate, ensuring consumers are not short-changed and businesses do not end up losing out on revenue. They have the power to prosecute businesses who fail to comply with the law. 

For more information on the NSAI’s Legal Metrology division or National Metrology Labroatory, visit our Metrology section on the or follow us on Twitter @NSAI_Standards 

About Legal Metrology

Nobody wants to pay more for their goods and services than necessary and no business wants to lose revenue. Many of our everyday purchases, including petrol, diesel and fuel, depend on measurements. In Ireland, NSAI’s Legal Metrology Service ensures both traders and consumers can have confidence that these values are correct and that the quantities charged for are accurate. 

NSAI’s Legal Metrology inspectors do this by testing traders’ measuring instruments, such as fuel pumps for petrol and diesel, taximeters, home heating oil meters on delivery tankers and weighting instruments in supermarkets, pharmacies and butcher stores. 

What is the Legal Metrology’s role in the Pay By Weight System?

It is an automatic system, taking the human intervention out of it. The bin operator will place the bin on the equipment, which will then lift the bin, weight it and place it back on the ground. This will reduce human intervention, therefore reducing the chance possible error or fraud. This bin weight data is then captured by the truck, transmitted to a centralised data centre, and is used to calculate your waste bill. Security is a very important part of this system.

Our regulations stipulate that the data must be secure at all times, and any changes made to the software or hardware can be tracked and the authorities will be aware of it. As well as analysing the weight data, NSAI’s Legal Metrology inspectors will also regularly check the weighing equipment to ensure it is measuring the bins accurately.  

What if I believe a weighting instrument is not accurate?

As part of our enforcement role, NSAI’s Legal Metrology division pays particular attention to matters brought to our attention by members of the public. If you believe there has been a short measurement or other issue relating to our work please complete our complaints form, which is available on our website, and give us as much information as possible, about the transaction, including product and trader details.

Please note that in the interests of fairness anonymous reports may not be accepted.

What happens if a bin company is not compliant with the legislation?

If the NSAI’s Legal Metrology inspector finds that a waste company is not compliant with the legislation (Metrology Act, 1996) it could face prosecution. The waste company could be liable to a fine of €22,000, or up to four years in prison, or both.