A Strategy For Developing Recycling Markets In Ireland

Synthesis Report - ERTDI report 7 - Coakley et al

Summary: Report developed as part of the medium scale project: Assessment and Evaluation of Outlets for Materials that can be Recovered from Municipal Waste (2000-MS-8-M1). Other deliverables related to this project include a report: A Strategy for Developing Recycling Markets in Ireland and Fact Sheets on each material waste stream.

Published: 2002

ISBN: 1-84095-091-9

Pages: 31

Filesize: 131KB

Format: pdf

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Executive Summary

It is clear from the best available data that the arisings of waste in Ireland are very high and that the rate of growth of these arisings is unsustainable.

It is vital, therefore, that Ireland, as a matter of urgency, implements a national waste prevention plan, whereby the growth rates of waste arisings is firstly halted, and ultimately reversed.

It is also clear that the recovery rate for the reuse and recycling of this waste in Ireland leaves a great deal of room for improvement. At present the rate of waste recovery is much lower than international norms and is also well below our national targets.

The recovery levels for all waste streams considered (glass, textiles, ferrous metals, paper, cardboard, plastic, non-ferrous metals, aluminium, wood and used beverage cartons) are less than acceptable. A study of the current outlets for the recovered municipal solid waste streams considered shows that such outlets are being utilised for all these streams, both in Ireland and abroad, with the exception of used beverage cartons.

A variety of such outlets for the various materials was identified and analysed in this study. Wood is the only material that is recycled solely in Ireland, currently no waste wood is being exported for recycling.

All the container glass recovered in Ireland is also recycled, either in the Republic of Ireland or in a facility in Northern Ireland. However, many of the outlets for other waste streams are abroad, and this sometimes adversely affects the viability of their long term usage for a variety of reasons.

The situation regarding the export of large volumes of waste paper, cardboard and plastic in particular is problematic. There is an urgent and major requirement to increase the Irish facilities to recycle these waste streams.

Several potential new outlets for each waste stream were identified and analysed as part of this study. While some of these are more viable than others, many such outlets are worth considering, all of which are being widely utilised in other countries with higher recycling levels than Ireland.

The barriers to recycling in Ireland were also identified and analysed as part of this study. This analysis considered current general barriers to waste recovery and also specific barriers to each material waste stream.

Many of these barriers are having a deleterious effect on the viability of developing a widespread culture of recycling in Ireland. In order to overcome these barriers, a strategic approach is recommended, whereby all the required elements for a major increase in the recovery and recycling of waste can be put into place and the forces and drivers to achieve this can be managed effectively and proactively.

A variety of key stakeholder groups are identified in this study whose active participation is of paramount importance.

Full executive summary in report.