EPA supports Ireland’s businesses, farmers and communities in becoming more sustainable

Date released: Nov 25 2016

Innovative Irish organisations and individuals are taking steps to reduce their impact on the environment, and their bank balances, by being more efficient, says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as it releases its report, Towards a Resource Efficient Ireland: Annual Report for 2015. The EPA supports resource efficiency initiatives right around Ireland.

This work targets reductions in the high consumption of materials, water and energy while strengthening the sustainability of our communities and improving business bottom lines. Every EU country must have a waste prevention programme, and Towards a Resource Efficient Ireland is the current national programme for Ireland.

Dara Lynott, EPA Deputy Director General, said,

“Since pioneering waste prevention in 2004, Ireland has been recognised across Europe as a leader in this area. The project examples described in the report show how innovative Irish organisations and individuals can reduce impacts on the environment, and their bank balances, by being more efficient.

“Preventing waste and using our resources more efficiently continue to be priority actions in waste policy, and are now formally underpinned by the European Commission’s drive towards a Circular Economy. The projects funded by the Towards a Resource Efficient Ireland programme provide clear environmental benefits and savings. They also fit very well with the concept of ‘sustainability’ by building strong local businesses and supporting vibrant communities”.

Highlights from resource efficiency projects in 2015 include:

  • 29 companies identified savings worth over €1.2 million by being smarter about their use of water and energy, and by reducing wastage;
  • Over 12,000 unwanted items swapped for re-use by members of the public through the FreeTrade Ireland web site;
  • 400,000 visits to the Stop Food Waste website;
  • 650 farmers working smarter to increase outputs while reducing environmental impact;
  • Local Authorities working with communities on projects such as preventing food waste; greening local festivals; and reusing leftover paint;
  • A further 12 Green Enterprise Projects funded in the charity (3), social enterprise (1) and small and medium sized enterprise (8) sectors.

The Towards a Resource Efficient Ireland programme prompts a move away from our ‘take-make-dispose’ approach to consumption, based on the availability of plentiful and inexpensive natural resources, to a new approach that involves keeping products in use for longer, reducing the need for new raw materials and moving away from the wasteful use of natural resources.

Resource efficiency can be achieved in many ways including: repair & upgrading of products; increasing reuse of surpluses; and the development of shared ownership models like the Dublin Bikes scheme. The Towards a Resource Efficient Ireland programme is at the forefront in building our sustainable future.

The report is available on the EPA website.