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Public Consultation on the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy…..it’s time to have your say

6 Jan 2020

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What can you do?

Currently there are three regional waste management plans in place [all of them have the same policy actions, targets and objectives]., these come to an end in 2021 so we need to start planning for the next iteration.

There have been many new developments and learnings which have come about since the current plans were put in place with the big one being the public awareness of the excess packaging and plastic in our lives, brought about by TV shows such as Blue Planet.

There have also been some major policy actions coming from the EU such as the plastics strategy which will target some single use plastic items and look to a more circular economy. All of these new developments will help to inform going forward and need to be taken into consideration when planning for our future waste management.

The government's new waste strategy will focus on the following key areas [follow the links for some more info about each of the points]:

  • How can we tackle fast fashion
  • Better labelling for recyclable goods - My Waste have developed labels which are specific for the Irish market and we hope to see these being used soon
  • Targets to ensure correct bins are used, providing clearer information on what goes into each bin - MyWaste provides this information and all collectors are operating on the guidance you can find on the site
  • Measures to halve food waste - we have info here that might be useful
  • Ending the use of non-recyclable plastic
  • How to further crack down on illegal dumping - you can check for permitted operators in your area here, if they are not listed on here then they might be dumping your waste illegally
  • Incentivising the use of recycled materials in the construction industry - Check out this EU report for some more info
  • Working with other EU Member States to design the structure of an EU wide plastic packaging tax to encourage the further prevention of plastic packaging.

  • How we can raise awareness among individuals and businesses on how best to manage their waste. This will include consideration of making waste prevention/recycling part of the school curriculum - MyWaste wants to promote prevention first, we have some tips here

While these are the main focus areas it does not mean that you cannot make a submission about some other area of concern or recommendations that you may have.

The Minister has announced the establishment of an Advisory Group, who will assist in the production of the new policy. The Group chaired by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment will be comprised of representatives from environmental NGOs, the Industry, and the regulatory sector and plan to meet in January.

Consultations on a range of measures, administrative and legislative, open today and the Department is seeking views until Friday the 21st of February.

What can you do?

While it's great that there is an advisory group made up of experts and all of the required major stakeholders we know that it is very important that you, the citizen, also have you say as any new plans or policy can affect us all.........all and any comments you have are important.

There are two things you are being asked to comment on:

Consultation on the Transposition of the Circular Economy Waste Package - this is about to be transposed into EU law which basically means that the European Member States give force to a directive, which is an official instruction. All member states must then adopt this in their own countries and in the best way applicable for them to a fixed timetable, failure to meet the targets can results in fines.

Follow this link for the document which explains in more detail which directives will be changed or amended and what these changes propose to be and this is followed by a series of questions

Public Consultation Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy - this is where you can really have your say, follow this link for the full document. This document is broken into sections and we will highlight below, in bold, the ones we think most people would want to have a say about. Each section gives a definition of the subject matter, what are the long term targets, how things currently are, an explanation as to why this needs to improve, a short term fix with each section then followed by some questions to get you thinking:

  • Municipal Waste, this section covers household and commercial [Municipal waste is what most people know as general waste or the contents if the black bin]

  • Food Waste, this section covers food waste and wastage after it leaves the farm, while we know there are significant losses at this agri stage we do not report on this currently in Ireland. There are many examples from other countries such as France and Italy where some inspiration could be taken. A big cause of waste is due to grading of fruits and vegetable meaning that a large percentage don't even make it off the farm. While redistribution of unsold food is an immediate response it does not address the main issue....why is there surplus food in the first place?
  • Plastic and Packaging Waste, this is one that we are all very well aware of, we go to the shops everything is over packaged. some supermarkets are providing bins to dispose of this before you take it home but again this does not address the issue. While there are arguments for and against as the relationship between food and packaging is an extremely complicated one there is still too much of it.
  • Single Use Plastics, this will cover the 10+ items which will hopefully be banned soon enough. While compostable items may seem like a good replacement remember that they are still single use items, we need to change our behaviour not replace one thing for another
  • Circular Economy
  • Awareness and Education, we hope that we along with other organisations are providing you with the information that you need, we rely on you to tell us what we need to do. We here at My Waste are citizens just like everyone else but working so close in an area can sometimes mean that we forget to highlight the little things
  • Construction and Demolition Waste
  • Textiles, currently clothes end up in our recycle and general waste bins which is a problem but the major issue is that fast fashion means that
  • Waste Management infrastructure
  • By Products
  • Exceptions
  • Producer Responsibility Schemes, we have some info here on all of the current schemes in place in Ireland with links in there so you can find out more about them about each of them.
  • Enforcement, illegal dumping is still rife in Ireland and a lot of the time people have no idea this is happening to their waste. The best way to ensure you don’t get caught out is to also ensure that anyone collecting waste has a permit to do so, avoid the “man in the van”.  
  • Waste Data and Waste Flows
  • Research and Innovation
  • Consumer Protection and Market Monitoring
  • Green Public Procurement
  • Bulky Waste, this covers items such as furniture, mattresses etc…. and the systems in place to deal with these, we have some info here
  • Bio-economy

While these are the main areas being highlighted as part of this consultation process you can make a submission on other topics and your comments do not have to follow any particular format. Submissions can be made either by emailing Wastecomments@DCCAE.gov.ie or you can send a written submission by post to:

Waste Action Plan Consultation

Waste Policy & Resource Efficiency Department of Communications,

Climate Action & Environment

Newtown Road

Wexford

Y35 AP90