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Recycling of Household Waste in Ireland
Third Report
Joint Committee on the Environment and Local Government
September 2006

This report provides a review of the current status of Household Waste Recycling in Ireland and makes recommendations to government based on its findings.

CHASE and several of its member groups participated in the review, submitting detailed observations, suggestions and recommendations. Other participants included 34 local authorities and 30 organizations, community groups and individuals.

The report includes 10 main recommendations, including a recommendation to review Ireland's overall waste disposal needs within the context of the Waste Management Hierarchy:

"The Joint Committee recommends Government undertake a close evaluation of Ireland's waste disposal needs. ... Particular attention should be paid to the Waste Management Hierarchy, which promotes avoidance, reuse and recycling, over disposal."

Every Regional Waste Management plan in the country identifies the potential need for an incinerator. The above recommendation is a clear call for a shift in priority to prevention, reuse and recycling as the primary waste management tools and for a reassessment of the need for incineration in the context of these priorities.

The ten main recommendations of the report are as follows:
  1. The development of mechanisms to improve the clean, segregated collection of plastics.
  2. The introduction of measures to increase and promote composting of organic material.
  3. The expansion of kerbside collection, the extension of Civic Amenity Site opening hours, and the improvement of Bring Centre maintenance.
  4. The promotion of producer responsibility in the area of newsprint (newspapers, magazines, junk mail, etc.), including a possible levy.
  5. Improved management of packaging waste, including investigation of various strategies for enhancing producer responsibility.
  6. The development of national 'Green Planning Guidelines' for inclusion of appropriate recycling infrastructure and services in planning permission conditions.
  7. Evaluation of international experience of Resource Recovery Centres and implementation of a pilot scheme.
  8. A close evaluation of Ireland's waste disposal needs with particular attention to be paid to the Waste Management Hierarchy, which promotes avoidance, reuse and recycling over disposal.
  9. A review of Government procurement policies to assess the scope for green sourcing and recycled products. Development of a Green Consumer Guide to aid consumer choice. And funding of pilot schemes to develop and promote markets for recyclable products.
  10. Initiation of actions at EU level for the incorporation of end-of life considerations into product design.

Other interesting findings of the report include:

  • Current recycling rates vary widely from 7.2% to 57%. Cork City Council gets the wooden spoon, with an average recycling rate of just 7.2%. Longford and Galway City Councils are the recycling leaders, at 57% and 56% respectively.
    This indicates clear room for improvement in the lower performing local authority areas.
  • 89% of Ireland's plastic waste is landfilled, but we IMPORT 48,000 tonnes of plastic waste annually for recycling.
    If this situation arises because Irish waste is not of a suitable quality, then local authorities must develop programs to improve the quality of this waste stream, including community awareness programs around the issue.
  • Though up to 61% of household waste is potentially compostable, only one of the local authorities surveyed currently provides a 'brown bin' service (i.e. collects wet organic recyclables).
    The extension of 'brown bin' services throughout the country should therefore be a top priority.

Click here for full report.

Click here for Irish Times article.

-- End --

Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment, 28/09/06


Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
Bishop's Road, Cobh, Co. Cork
Tel - 021 481 5564      Email -
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