Economic slow down helps Ireland meet waste targets

The Irish authorities have not tried to claim credit for a fall in the amount of rubbish being put out by households, acknowledging that the drop in waste generation is likely to be due to the gloomy economic situation over the past year.

Figures published this week show a fall of 5% in the amount of municipal waste generated by Irish homes, but this is mirrored by a 5% dip in the country’s GDP over the same period.

Waste generation is closely linked to affluence – the more people buy, the more they tend to put in the bin.

The figures published in the National Waste Report 2008 by the Environmental Protection Agency show that the country is now on track to meet most of its EU targets, but the report also urges continued effort to divert biodegradable waste from landfill and prevent waste generation in the first place.

The report shows that 95% of Irish homes now have a kerbside recycling service, while almost a quarter (21%) also have a third bin for organic waste.

Gerry Byrne, EPA programme manager, said: “While the reductions in waste generation seen in 2008 are welcome, we must continue to focus on resource efficiency to ensure that when economic growth does return, it is not accompanied by a surge in waste generation.”

Sam Bond

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