Submission to the Public Consultation on the Regional Waste Management Plan

The Submission by the Environmental Pillar to the Public Consultation on the Regional Waste Management Plan was sent to each of the regional Waste Authorities in January 2015.
The Resource Efficiency Working Group prepared the submission which details 15 recommendations including parameters for creating an effective database, appropriate waste prevention targets per capita per year along with economic instruments to support these. Other recommendations include; the adoption of a kerbside sorted system of collecting recyclable materials to guarantee a higher quality of feedstock, developing closed loop policies for all materials streams, with labour intensive recycling as a priority. Many more recommendations are included in the submission which can be read in the link below.
The submission also includes two proposals, the first for Zero Waste and the second for a Pilot Deposit Refund Scheme (DRS) in Ireland. The Zero Waste proposal focuses on proper source separation, household collection techniques, recycling, composting of organic waste and reuse. This can be achieved through changing attitudes to waste through community wide education, as well as changing consumption habits. Ultimately the plan focuses on reduction of waste, with as little residual waste as possible, eliminating the need for environmentally harmful and costly disposal techniques such as landfilling and incineration. This will incorporate a focus on community wide re-use schemes, and research on eco-design and manufacturing. Such an approach would provide more green jobs in recycling collection and processing industries. Increasing the amount of quality recyclates would provide consistent supply of feedstock for businesses wishing to develop recycling technology. Additionally, a change in individual and corporate behaviour would advance the repair and reuse industry as well as promote industrial symbiosis relationships.
Finally, the Deposit Refund Scheme (DRS) proposal is one which has proven to be extremely successful in recovering valuable and high quality material in other countries. Container deposit and refund schemes reduce waste, raise recovery rates, save money, create jobs, and enjoy high public support. While a deposit and refund system will be expensive to implement, its benefits greatly outweigh these costs. It is estimated that these systems have net benefits of over €100 million.
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