A ban on fixed-price waste collection is being introduced by the Government to encourage recycling and reduce the amount of rubbish.

However, the Opposition has said there are fears it will mean higher bills for households.

Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten has announced the new scheme, to replace the controversial plan for a pay-by-weight system shelved by the Government last year.

Mr Naughten said he decided not to introduce a "compulsory one-size-fits-all per kilogramme charging system".

From now on, waste companies will still be allowed to apply standing charges, but they will also have to contain a usage element such as pay-by-weight or pay per lift.

The change is believed to affect up to 600,000 customers, mainly in the Dublin area, who pay a fixed monthly fee, sometimes around €17 a month, for all waste collection.

All new customers and those renewing their contracts after 1 July will have to take up the new system.

Mr Naughten said the amount of waste sent to landfill had increased last year and emergency powers had to be invoked to make additional landfill space available.

He said it was important to act now to prevent a return to over-dependence on landfill.

He also announced that waste companies will have to provide brown bin facilities to all areas with a population over 500.

There will be a subvention scheme worth €75 a year per person for incontinence pads.

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Fianna Fáil TD John Curran said there are concerns that the new system could see big price increases for customers.

Last year, then environment minister Simon Coveney tried to introduce minimum charges for green, brown and black bin waste.

But this plan was withdrawn after controversy over the introduction of a green bin charge and price increases of up to 50% threatened with the introduction of the pay-by-weight system.

The waste industry then agreed to a 12-month price freeze, which ends on 1 July.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan welcomed the pay-by-weight and polluter-pays-principle, but said the Government needs to make it easier for people to do "the right thing".

Speaking on RTE's Six One, he also said local authorities need to play a stronger and more central role, and that the system needs to be policed more effectively. 

Deputy Ryan said there is a risk that if there is a hike in black bin weight charges, illegal dumping will increase, adding it is a huge problem.