National Waste Report 2007

Date released: Jan 28 2009

Diverting food waste from landfill is the main waste management priority for the coming year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Waste Report (2007), published today.

The report states that:

  • The overall generation of municipal waste did not increase appreciably in 2007, in contrast to 2006;
  • Recycling rates generally remained steady with good progress reported in relation to packaging;
  • The diversion of very large quantities of food waste from landfill is a priority that must be addressed; and
  • The level of waste reported in 2007, allied with the need for businesses to reduce costs in 2009, reflects the need for continued support for resource conservation initiatives in relation to waste, water and energy, such as the National Waste Prevention Programme.

Launching the report, Ms Laura Burke, Director, Environmental Protection Agency, said;  

“Although significant progress has been made in managing waste in Ireland the report clearly shows that Ireland, is in danger of missing a key EU target for diverting biodegradable municipal waste from landfill. Urgent and short-term actions are required in 2009 to tackle the generation and recycling of food waste from households and businesses if we are to meet the 2010 target for diverting an additional half a million tonnes of this waste from landfill.” 

Priority Actions

The report identified the following priority actions:

  • Putting in place the services for the separate collection of organic (particularly food) waste at households and commercial premises;
  • Ensuring there is adequate infrastructure to treat the very large amounts of organic (particularly food) waste that must be collected separately and diverted from landfill;
  • Developing outlets for the products of such treatment;
  • Making regulations/bye-laws that can be used to enforce the segregation and separate collection of food waste at household and commercial premises;
  • Delivering the new waste policy on foot of the international review of waste management as quickly as possible to provide certainty and to allow for accelerated investment programmes that are necessary if organic waste is to be treated and landfill avoided.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Dr. Gerry Byrne, Programme Manager, Environmental Protection Agency said;

“In a time of increasingly constrained resources, fundamental issues need to be addressed to ensure that waste is managed in an environmentally sustainable manner. We must also continue to help Irish businesses recognise that there are significant cost savings to be made through more efficient use of raw materials, water and energy, leading to less waste and emissions. 

Dr Byrne concluded;

“A range of projects is available through the National Waste Prevention Programme to assist businesses in assessing their resource efficiency and environmental costs, and finding ways to improve their performance while significantly cutting operating costs.”

The National Waste Report (2007) is now available on the EPA website or from the EPA Publications’ Office, McCumiskey House, Richview, Dublin 14 on 01-2680100 - €20.

ENDS  

Further information: EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours)

Notes to Editor:

Overall recycling rates in 2007: Recycling of waste continued to increase at steady rates:

  • The quantity of municipal waste recycled increased by 3.6%, household waste by 8% and packaging waste by 14%.
  • 36% of municipal waste was recycled, exceeding the 2013 recycling target of 35%.
  • 26% of household waste was recycled. While satisfactory, there remains considerable distance to reduce the landfilling of household waste to 50% by 2013.
  • 64% of packaging waste was recycled. This is an impressive return for the year and exceeds the EU recycling target of 60% by 2011.
  • The collection of 8.7kg of household waste electrical and electronic equipment per capita was more than double the EU target of 4kg per capita.

Biodegradable municipal waste in 2007: The recycling of biodegradable municipal waste decreased by 2.7% in 2007, and its disposal at landfill increased by 5.2%. The disposal of this waste at landfill is subject to strict targets, the first of which is due in 2010.

National Waste Prevention Programme: The National Waste Prevention Programme commenced in 2004 at the request of the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. The EPA leads and co-ordinates the Programme.