Green Enterprise

The EPA’s Green Enterprise: Innovation for a Circular Economy programme is an annual funding programme that supports organisations to develop and demonstrate new circular economy approaches.

What are the benefits of Green Enterprises?

Circular Economy graphic showing the different stages of the circular economy

A Green Enterprise circular economy approach provides opportunities for enterprises to enhance competitiveness and reduce business costs. This approach will build Ireland’s capacity to transition to a low-carbon, resilient, circular economy. The programme is funded by the National Waste Prevention Programme and the EPA Research Programme.


In recent years, the Green Enterprise call invited proposals in the following thematic areas:

  • Plastics
  • Construction and demolition
  • Food
  • Resources and raw materials (electrical and electronic equipment, textiles, furniture)

To learn more about the projects we have funded you can view our ongoing and recently completed Green Enterprise projects here.

 

Who can apply?

We are looking for innovative projects that will have a direct impact on organisations and policy. Click here to view all recent Green Enterprise funding call documents.

Green Enterprise priority areas include:

Plastic waste

Preventing plastic waste and increasing the recyclability of plastic products are central to the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plans.

Plastics is a priority area of the National Waste Prevention Programme

 

An EU Plastics Strategy which aims to protect the environment from plastic pollution while fostering growth and innovation was published in January 2018. The latest EU Green Deal Circular Action Plan (March 2020) will look at phasing out single-use plastic products wherever possible and replacing them with durable products for multiple use; and acting on microplastics to restrict their use. Much of the plastic packaging consumed cannot be recycled or is difficult to recycle (e.g. products made of composite materials). For these reasons, we need to transform the way products are designed, produced, used and recycled.

Potential proposal areas:

  • Redesign of products or packaging to replace non-recyclable plastic with recyclable plastic or replace virgin plastic with recyclable plastic
  • Redesign of products for ease of recycling at end-of-life
  • Prevention of plastic waste during production processes
  • Elimination of hazardous chemicals from plastic products
  • Reuse/leasing business models for plastic products, reducing the need for plastic packaging and single-use products
  • Elimination/capture of microplastics during production or waste management lifecycles

Food waste

As a leader in green food production, Ireland has the potential to create and showcase new and innovative solutions to tackling food waste.

Food waste is a priority area of the National Waste Prevention Programme

Food waste can arise for many reasons at a number of different points in the food supply chain. For example, at the early stages of agricultural production, crops may be grown which are never harvested, or they may be harvested but wasted due to damage or fluctuations in demand. Retailers may throw away out-of-date or imperfect stock, and restaurants may throw away food left on plates by their customers. Businesses may not be aware of the amount of the food waste they produce and may not see that this is a problem that needs to be dealt with. Different businesses may have their own reasons for wasting food and have their own solutions for reducing it.

 

Potential proposal areas:

  • Promoting innovative waste prevention solutions across the food production and food processing sectors
  • Implementing technical and behavioural interventions to reduce food waste in commercial settings
  • Innovative solutions to gathering and sharing reliable and accurate food waste information to identify areas for improvement and to measure progress

Resources and raw materials

Plastics waste, C&D waste and food waste have been a focus for the European Commission under the circular economy due to the volume of waste involved and the environmental issues arising from their waste management.

Resources and raw materials is a priority area of the National Waste Prevention Programme


The circular economy embraces all resources and raw materials and therefore the Green Enterprise funding call will have a thematic area to reflect this. Of interest are solutions relating to electrical and electronic equipment, textiles and furniture. These areas are specifically mentioned in the Waste Framework Directive 2018 (ref Article 9) and electrical and electronic equipment and textiles are highlighted as focus areas under the EU Green Deal Circular Economy Action Plan (March 2020).

 

Potential proposal areas:

  • New business models for reuse
  • Opportunities for preparation for reuse
  • Reducing the content of hazardous substances in

Construction and demolition (C&D)

Construction and demolition (C&D) waste is the largest waste stream by volume in the EU. There are opportunities for innovation in the C&D sector to meet circular economy ambitions such as:

C&D is a priority area of the National Waste Prevention Programme
  • Designing for reuse
  • Preventing waste at all stages of construction and demolition
  • Reducing hazardous materials in construction products
  • Shifting C&D waste up the waste hierarchy from recovery operations (backfilling) into recycling/end-of-waste

EU Green Deal’s new industrial strategy recognises EU member states need to address the sustainability of construction products and improve the energy efficiency and environmental performance of built assets. A more sustainable built environment will be essential for EU member states to transition towards climate neutrality.

Potential proposal areas:

  • Information on the composition of materials in existing buildings
  • Standardising secondary raw materials
  • Circular construction products (products that can be reused or with increased lifespan)
  • Reduce absolute and per capita construction and demolition waste generation
  • Selective demolition to enable removal of hazardous materials and facilitate reuse and recycling