Local Authorities Demonstrate Waste Prevention Success

Date released: Feb 07 2008

The Environmental Protection Agency is today hosting a national conference to showcase progress in waste prevention by local authorities who participated in the Local Authority Prevention Demonstration (LAPD) Programme.  The objectives of the Programme are:

  • to build capacity in local authorities in the promotion of waste prevention and resource efficiency; and
  • to demonstrate the financial savings that are possible for local authorities themselves and the communities and businesses they work with.

The conference will be addressed by Mr. Tony Killeen, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Dr Mary Kelly, Director General of the EPA.

Speaking at the opening of the conference, Dr. Mary Kelly, EPA Director General said:

“The EPA is committed to working with local authorities to bring about change in attitudes to waste. Irish households and businesses have shown that they can change behaviour in terms of recycling.  Now we must focus on prevention and decouple economic growth from waste generation. Local leadership and demonstration projects will be essential to making this happen.”

The EPA is currently funding 14 local authorities in the LAPD Programme, as part of the National Waste Prevention Programme. A total of €1.7 million is committed as grant aid to these local authorities over a period of 30 months. Local authorities are working both within their own organisations and with a range of local community groups and businesses to reduce waste.  Participating businesses and organisations include major shopping centres, retailers, hospitals, factories, hotels, third level institutions, an airport and construction companies.

The following are examples of the results achieved so far:

  • Limerick County Council has saved over €7,000 per year by reducing its own paper usage by 13%;
  • Monaghan County Council has identified cost savings of €21,000 through introducing a preventative approach to waste management in two hospitals; and
  • Galway County Council has identified potential savings of €25,000 for one retailer through waste and energy efficiencies.

According to Dr. Padraic Larkin, EPA Deputy Director General:

“Waste prevention is about managing change within an organisation, be it private or public sector. Without the support and drive of top management, it cannot happen. Prevention equally cannot happen without the participation of staff in generating ideas and implementing solutions.”

The aim of the Programme is to develop a network of prevention experts in Ireland’s local authorities that have the expertise and motivation to work with business, public organisations and communities to reduce the volume of waste generated for disposal and for recycling.

In discussing the future of the LAPD Programme, Dr Gerry Byrne, EPA Programme Manager said:

“The EPA has been tasked, through the National Waste Prevention Programme, to manage the evolution to a society that is moving beyond recycling. It is essential now that the successful recycling culture shares its focus with the more challenging culture of waste prevention and resource efficiency.”

He added

“The LAPD Programme and its future development will contribute to achieving this through local authorities.  It is essential that Green Business Officer and Waste Prevention Officer positions be made attractive and available to ensure that the expertise developed by the LAPD Programme is not lost”.

Note to Editor
Local authorities involved in the LAPD Programme have received direct financial support that has allowed staff to work exclusively on prevention initiatives. Additionally, expert technical support is provided by the Clean Technology Centre, based in Cork, directly to local authorities as part of the programme. A training course for local authority staff was developed in 2007 and is already in its second iteration. The result of this intensive capacity building is a team of professionals with the insight and technical ability to really make a difference in promoting waste prevention and sustainability in their local areas.