Major initiatives launched to meet recycling targets

Recycling is playing a increasingly important role in the drive to meet EU targets. The EPA is publishing a new guide on recycling markets in Ireland which should identify potential areas for development. In the specific composting sector, Cré, the Composting Association of Ireland, is playing a proactive role in promoting initiatives which examine many of the options available to local authorities and waste management companies to deal with green and other compostable waste

Landfill space is running out as the volume of municipal and industrial waste grows, thrusting the need to recycle to the top of the agenda.

The EPA states that available data indicates that the quantity of recyclable waste generated in Ireland is increasing and that it is also evident that the rate of waste recycling is lower than international norms and national targets. However, improved recycling rates are possible and Ireland should now take steps to improve recycling rates by tackling one of the principal barriers to recycling – the lack of outlets for recycled materials.

The EPA says that, in order to overcome this and other barriers, a strategic approach is proposed whereby all the required elements for a major increase in the recycling of waste can be put into place and the forces and drivers to achieve this increase can be managed effectively and pro-actively.

The strategic approach will require the participation of a variety of key stakeholder groups and their actions need to be co-ordinated to ensure that national targets are achieved. The EPA will, with the support of the Clean Technology Centre, provide updates on the progress towards improving Ireland’s recycling performance.

The project has already seen outputs with a series of factsheets containing detailed information on each of ten waste streams, namely, glass, textiles, ferrous metals, paper, cardboard, plastics, non-ferrous metals (other than aluminium), aluminium, wood and composites (used beverage cartons).

The Composting Association of Ireland, emanating from a Republic of Ireland IWM sponsored seminar on composting, was launched during International Composting Awareness week on 2 May 2002. Cré’s mission statement is: “To promote composting and compost utilisation in Ireland. The Association’s function is to infuse best practice into the development of an industry; promote public awareness; and to promote research and the development of an information storehouse on composting and compost utilisation.”

In a Paper presented at a Workshop within the 2002 IWM Conference in Paignton, Devon, Cré said that it could play a key role in shaping the composting industry in Ireland, by ensuring that its members had access to appropriate information, “in particular Ireland specific information.”

In its first year the association has 44 members, drawn from a wide range of interests, including local authorities, government, equipment manufacturers, consultants, semi-state bodies and universities.

There is a website and newsletters have been produced, whilst the Technical Committee has provided responses to the Draft EU Biowaste and Animal-By-products Regulations. A second annual seminar, held in May, attracted over 90 attendees.

Composting activities

The Cré paper points out that most local authorities have home composting schemes and have provided compost bins at a subsidised price with the results of a survey in early 2001 indicating that 7% of homes estimated had compost bins.

Home composting has continued to expand with the example cited of Cork County Council and Cork Corporation holding a series of one day compost bin sales in 2001 where over 6,000 bins were sold initially.

On the council front there are centralised composting sites across the country. Currently the largest in Ireland, St Annes Park Green waste composting facility was established by Dublin Corporation in 1993. Approximately 60,000m³ of green waste was brought to the Dublin site in 2000. Sorted at the reception area the waste is shredded if necessary and then placed in open windrows.

Around 10,000m³ of compost is produced each year and used in Dublin Corporation parks and sold to landscapers and the general public.

In Tralee, Co Kerry, a facility set up by Kerry County Council in 1999 uses the open windrow method of composting biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) and greenwaste.

In February 1999, Limerick Corporation started to collect BMW and green waste from 1,000 home in Limerick City and composted it at its own facility. In June 2000, the private waste management company, Mr Binman, took over responsibility for this scheme and is using an in-vessel system for composting.

In Galway City compost from BMW is produced using the Varom forced aerobic composting system supplied by SFL Group Ltd.

At Silliott Hill, Kildare County Council with SITA Recycling Ltd, is employing a centralised composting facility for greenwaste and BMW. The facility uses a Vertical-in-Vessel composting unit. Capacity is 5,000 tonnes of compost with room for expansion.

Cré also reported at the June IWM conference that Celtic Waste, the major private waste management company, was preparing to start a composting pilot project for Co Wicklow, with future plans to develop six composting facilities throughout Ireland.

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