Irish Minister encourages more recycling of construction and demolition waste

Batt O'Keefe, Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government has urged the construction industry to increase its rates of recycling for construction and demolition waste.

Speaking at an information seminar to promote a voluntary construction industry initiative aimed at the prevention, minimisation and recycling of construction and demolition waste, Mr O’Keefe said: “The continued and unfettered growth in waste across all sectors in our society is no longer sustainable and must be reversed in the longer term to better protect our environment for the generations to come.”

Ireland is the first country in the EU to apply a voluntary approach to dealing with the management of construction and demolition waste. It is hoped it will allow the industry a chance to self-regulate and to agree what regulations and legislation should be developed in the long term.

The Government introduced an ambitious national target for a national recycling rate of 50% for such waste by the end of 2003, rising to 85% by 2013. Figures from the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Waste Database report 2001 estimate that such waste accounts for 21%, or 3.65 million tonnes, of all non-agricultural waste generated in 2001.

Concluding his speech Minister O’Keefe said: “This voluntary initiative is an important element in the comprehensive matrix of measures required to instil proper and more sustainable waste management practices in respect of one of our largest waste streams. With the key elements necessary for the future sustainable management of waste now in place, the time for action is now to hand.”

By David Hopkins

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