Resources and raw materials

Over 100 million tonnes of materials are used in Ireland each year. These materials are valuable and should be kept in use for as long as possible. However, most materials are used for a short period of time and often end up as waste. Reusing and repairing things help to reduce the amount of new materials we use – and also reduces environmental impacts such as increases in greenhouse gas emissions.

What is the EPA doing about resources and raw materials?

The National Waste Prevention Programme has a focus on resources and raw materials, particularly the reuse and repair of these materials which are importance of these life cycle stages in the circular economy. Examples of challenges include:

  • In Ireland, we waste one million tonnes of food a year.
  • We extract millions of tonnes of raw metal ores and minerals for construction and other activities.
  • Over two-thirds of the plastics in our bins are not currently recyclable.
  • Many products are designed for single use or are thrown away after a short time.

By preventing waste and driving the circular economy , we can make the most of our resources and minimise the raw materials we use while also protecting the environment.

How does the EPA support circularity of resources and raw materials?

The EPA provides tools and information to businesses, households and the public sector to influence behavioural change and support sustainable choices. For businesses, the circular economy reduces costs, improves the raw material supply chain and offers opportunities such as new business models and markets. For individuals, the circular economy offers a sustainable lifestyle with reduced environmental impact and lower household bills.

Our main activities in this area include:

  • We partner with the Rediscovery Centre at the National Centre for the Circular Economy. Its activities include the Circular Economy Academy (a free mentoring and support programme to assist social enterprises and community organisations in circular economy activities), Conversations on a Circular Economy (a seminar series on thematic areas) and education and workshop programmes.
  • We support Community Resources Network Ireland (CRNI). CRNI is an umbrella group for reuse, repair and recycling organisations in Ireland.
  • We support Repairmystuff.ie, the national online repair directory, which has over 800 repair businesses registered
  • We provide evidence. For example, textiles are a priority area for the circular economy and a study is currently underway on the nature and extent of post-consumer textiles in Ireland

Check out some of our partnership 2020 highlights below: