Ireland takes first steps towards new waste policy

Irish Environment Minister John Gormley has laid out how he plans to deliver a new waste policy that will steer the country away from landfilling and towards higher recycling levels over coming years.

Announcing the plans on Tuesday, Mr Gormley said he was keen to give both the public and industry a voice and that there would be extensive consultation before anything was written in stone.

“I want to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to contribute to the development of the Government’s waste management policy,” he said.

“The policy will focus on moving Ireland away from an overemphasis on residual waste management and to a focus on prevention, minimisation and recycling.”

As a first step in the process, Mr Gormley launched a consultation on a draft Bill which has been approved by Government for the application of levies to landfills and incinerators.

The levies will be designed to ensure material which can be recycled and add value is not drawn to large scale residual waste treatment facilities.

“In order to have the dissuasive effect required, those who process more, will pay more,” said the Minister.

The levies are also seen as a means of driving material away from landfill, in order to meet challenging EU targets.

“Levies are just part of a range of measures which will contribute to the development of a sustainable, resource-based waste management policy,” commented the Minister.

In the coming weeks the Minister will be launching a broader consultation document which will set out the various elements being considered as part of the development of a new waste management policy for the country.

“Waste, when viewed as a resource, has the potential to make a significant contribution to economic recovery through the development of a vibrant recycling sector using the most advanced technologies,” said Mr Gormley.

Sam Bond

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