By reducing the number of licences awarded, the regulator hopes to maximise the use and value of waste before it is disposed of to landfill, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and odour from landfills and help meet European targets under the Landfill Directive.

Waste management continues to be a significant challenge in Ireland, particularly when it comes to meeting obligations on the pre-treatment and disposal of waste at landfills as required under the Landfill Directive.

In order to help the country’s compliance with thedirective, the EPA will review landfill licences, restricting the quantity of biodegradable household and commercial waste that can be accepted by landfill operators.

Laura Burke, director of the EPA’s Office of Climate Change, Licensing and Resource Use said: “The landfill licence review is another vital step in the way we manage waste in Ireland.

“Our aim is to make the best possible use of all waste before it is finally disposed of. People in Ireland have clearly demonstrated their willingness to recycle paper, plastic and glass. We must now help them to do the same with food waste. If the waste can be recycled or recovered, then it should not be going to landfill.”

The EPA has also published new guidance that will require operators of landfill and incineration facilities to demonstrate, via their waste acceptance policy, that waste accepted at these facilities has been subjected to appropriate pre-treatment.

Dr Jonathan Derham, senior scientific officer for the EPA said: “The new requirements will lead to growth in the pre-treatment sector as businesses try to get further value from biodegradable waste.

“This will require waste segregation by consumers at source through the roll out of brown bins and will also help Ireland to meet its EU obligations for waste management.

“This guidance supports government policy in respect of the role of source segregated waste collection and the extraction of recyclables.”

“If no action is taken, Ireland will overshoot the first EU target for biodegradable waste to landfill in 2010 by 50 per cent or 500,000 tonnes.

“Taking out biodegradable waste at source is required to comply with the Landfill Directive and also reduces the potential for odour issues in the future.

“That, coupled with the introduction of increased landfill levies later this year, will further assist in maximising recycling and recovery rates for waste and minimising the environmental burden of waste disposal activities.”

Sam Bond

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