Ireland targets organic waste

Ireland is making progress on recycling but must begin to focus more on prevention and reduction of waste, according to the country's environment chief.

Figures for 2007, which have recently been published, reveal the country was recycling 36% of municipal waste – an increase of 3.6% on the previous year, which allowed it to beat a target of recycling 35% by 2013.

Environment Minister John Gormley praised the figures, which were in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Waste Report 2007, but raised concerns about the amount of biodegradable waste heading to landfill.

The report revealed that the recycling of biodegradable municipal waste decreased by 2.7% in 2007, and its disposal at landfill shot up by 5.2%.

“I am concerned at our progress towards meeting targets for the diversion of this material,” Mr Gormley said.

“In order to drive further progress on this issue, I am bringing forward draft regulations to help divert commercially generated biodegradable waste from landfill.”

He announced that other laws would be brought forward to allow for significant increases to the landfill levy, to make sustainable alternatives such as composting more economically attractive.

Following publication of the report, the Environmental Protection Agency recommended separate food waste collection services for houses and businesses, and creating the infrastructure to treat large amounts of organic waste.

Dr. Gerry Byrne, programme manager at EPA, said: “In a time of increasingly constrained resources, fundamental issues need to be addressed to ensure that waste is managed in an environmentally sustainable manner.

“We must also continue to help Irish businesses recognise that there are significant cost savings to be made through more efficient use of raw materials, water and energy, leading to less waste and emissions.”

Kate Martin

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie