New proposed hazardous waste management plan for public consultation

Date released: Nov 07 2007

  • The Proposed National Hazardous Waste Management Plan is published by the Environmental Protection Agency for public consultation.
  • Its primary objectives are to prevent and minimise hazardous waste and to manage, in an environmentally-sound manner, hazardous waste which cannot be prevented.
  • The quantity of hazardous waste generated in 2006 was 284,184 tonnes, an 8 per cent decrease since 2004.
  • A period of public consultation is now open and written submissions are sought until 31 January 2008.

The EPA today released a Proposed National Hazardous Waste Management Plan for the prevention, reduction and management of hazardous waste in Ireland. The primary objectives of the Proposed Plan are to prevent and minimise hazardous waste and to manage, in an environmentally-sound manner, hazardous waste which cannot be prevented.

The largest quantity of hazardous waste is generated by Irish industry and includes such materials as industrial solvents, waste oils, industrial sludges and chemical wastes. Households, small businesses, farms and the healthcare and construction sectors also generate large quantities of hazardous waste including batteries, electrical equipment, healthcare risk waste, solvent based paint, varnish waste, sheep dip and fluorescent lamps.

“The bulk of hazardous waste generated by industry is well managed,” said Dr Gerry Byrne, Programme Manager of the EPA’s Office of Climate, Licensing and Resource Use,  “and therefore the focus for industrial sectors is on minimising the quantity of hazardous waste generated. In other sectors such as households, small businesses and farms, there is room for improvement in the collection of hazardous waste. We must establish improved and tailored systems for the management and collection of this hazardous waste”.

The quantity of hazardous waste generated in 2006 was 284,184 tonnes, an 8 per cent decrease since 2004. The majority of this waste is generated by Irish industry and is generally managed properly. Some 47 per cent of Irish hazardous waste is exported for treatment and disposal, mostly for thermal treatment (incineration and use as fuel), but also for metal recovery, solvent recovery and landfill. The balance is treated at the industrial facilities where it is generated or in a network of 15 authorised hazardous waste treatment facilities in Ireland.

The Proposed Plan makes 30 recommendations dealing with:
· the prevention of hazardous waste;
· the collection of hazardous waste and the enforcement of hazardous waste regulations;
· infrastructure self-sufficiency in hazardous waste management;
· legacy issues such as contaminated soil and old landfills;
· north-south potential for all-island solutions and
· implementation of the plan.
 
Editor’s note:

Main recommendations:

Prevention
A prevention programme is proposed to reduce the gross generation of hazardous waste in certain priority industrial sectors and in households. The EPA will lead this work under its National Waste Prevention Programme.

Collection
A comprehensive and accessible network of local drop-off facilities for householders and small businesses is recommended with certain commercial sectors also highlighted for priority attention in this regard.

Self-sufficiency
A move towards more self-sufficiency is recommended. Of the 47 per cent of hazardous waste exported, a significant proportion could be dealt with in Ireland at existing authorised facilities and by co-incineration. If Ireland were to become fully self-sufficient, hazardous waste landfill and incineration would be required.

Legacy issues
Over 90 per cent of contaminated soil is exported for treatment. Greater treatment of contaminated soil in Ireland is recommended to ensure that treated soil is available for re-use.

North-south potential for all-island solutions
With the easing of restrictions in UK policy for the movement of hazardous waste between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, an all-island market for hazardous waste disposal is now possible. Such a market for hazardous waste recovery has existed for some time. The Plan recommends that the scope for all-island developments be explored in the context of hazardous waste prevention and collection initiatives and infrastructural development.

Implementation
The principal implementing bodies for the proposed plan are the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, the EPA and local authorities. The private sector, through public-private partnerships, also has an important role in the provision of infrastructure. Each recommendation has a timeline and progress will be reported annually by the EPA.

Strategic environmental assessment
The Proposed Plan has undergone a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and the Environmental Report is also available for public consultation.

This is a public consultation document.
Interested parties may make written submissions on the Proposed Plan by 31 January 2008.

The Proposed National Hazardous Waste Management Plan is prepared and published in accordance with Section 26 of the Waste Management Acts, 1996 to 2007, and will replace the first National Hazardous Waste Management Plan, which was published by the EPA in 2001. Section 26 of the Waste Management Acts, 1996 to 2007 requires that the National Hazardous Waste Management Plan be reviewed every five years.  The review of the first Plan commenced in 2006 and this Proposed Plan is the result of that review.

The strategic environmental assessment has been carried out in accordance with the SEA Directive and Irish regulations.