Waste industry says Ireland should treat own incinerator ash

The trade association that represents Ireland's waste industry is calling on the government to ban the export of ash produced by burning waste in incinerators.

The Irish Waste Management Association (IWMA) argues that treating the waste at home could be worth EUR20 million per year to the Irish economy.

The appeal comes hot on the heels of plans for a major incinerator at Poolbeg to deal with a sizeable slice of Dublin’s waste.

Conditions for the incinerator will include a requirement for an estimated 60,000 tonnes per year of waste ash to be exported for treatment.

Much of this will constitute hazardous waste, the export of which is tightly regulated by international accords such as the Basel Agreement.

Waste Management World carried a report quoting the IWMA’s chairman Jim Kells as saying: “Exporting ash is wrong environmentally, economically and is totally unsustainable in the modern era. It also leaves us vulnerable under the law and increases costs to the consumer.”

“Instead of recognizing the resource value of the ash, we are literally shipping money and jobs out of the country. We are imposing our waste on other countries and will remain completely reliant on these countries to continue accepting our ash.

“Germany has already banned this material from entering its borders. As we saw from the temporary collapse of the dry recyclables market last year, over-reliance on export routes can place a huge strain on our ability to function. It is imperative Ireland can manage what it produces.”

Sam Bond

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