Hazardous waste is generated by all sectors of Irish society, from large industry, healthcare to small businesses, households and farms. It is for the most part managed by a professional hazardous waste industry and is treated appropriately and in accordance with legal requirements. Large quantities of hazardous waste are generated, and there is scope to reduce this generation of waste through waste prevention programmes. Around half of Irish hazardous waste is exported for treatment. There are some problems with so-called 'unreported' hazardous waste in Ireland, where small amounts of consumer hazardous waste are produced in households and small businesses and can be inappropriately managed.
The Environmental Protection Agency has prepared a revised National Hazardous Waste Management Plan for the Republic of Ireland covering a six-year period from the date of publication (2014-2020). This third Plan is a revision of the National Hazardous Waste Management Plan 2008 - 2012 and sets out the priorities to be pursued over the next six years and beyond to improve the management of hazardous waste, taking into account the progress made since the previous plan and the waste policy and legislative changes that have occurred since the previous plan was published.
The objectives of the revised Plan are:
The revised Plan makes 27 recommendations. The following is a summary of the recommendations:
Prevention projects to reduce the generation of hazardous waste in certain priority sectors (pharmachem, agriculture, healthcare, households, publishing & printing and transport) should continue to be led by the EPA under the National Waste Prevention Programme. Prevention initiatives should be incorporated into Regional Waste Management Plans and the Green Public Procurement Action Plan should provide for the substitution and reduction in use of hazardous materials. Waste characterisation studies of certain waste streams are also recommended to evaluate the reduction of the hazardous content of such wastes.
A comprehensive and accessible network of local drop-off facilities for householders and small businesses is recommended to tackle the problem of “unreported” hazardous waste. Enforcement activities should continue to focus on issues such as unauthorised burning of waste oil in order to increase collection and prevent environmental pollution. The potential for producer responsibility obligations for a number of hazardous waste streams should be given priority consideration.
The objective of moving towards increased self-sufficiency and minimising exports continues to be recommended, where it is strategically/environmentally advisable, and technically and economically feasible. If Ireland were to become self-sufficient, suitable hazardous waste treatment options would be required.
Consolidation of waste legislation and cooperation in enforcement is recommended. A review of waste licensing/permitting legislation is recommended in order to establish a proportionate regulatory mechanism, including relief, to facilitate collection, transport and temporary storage of certain hazardous wastes from small sources pending proper treatment.
Old waste disposal sites, especially those that to a significant extent may have involved the disposal of hazardous waste, should continue to be managed (i.e. identified, risk assessed and regularised) in accordance with the Code of Practice drawn up by the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement and relevant legislation, where required.
The revised Plan recommends that any proposals for hazardous waste recovery/disposal infrastructure should take all-island considerations into account for capacity planning purposes. Cooperation between appropriate authorities on both sides of the border concerning hazardous waste management issues should be explored.
A key aspect of proper hazardous waste management is guidance and awareness. During implementation of the second Plan, the EPA developed prevention resources for certain sectors. Such resources should continue to be disseminated (e.g. the Green Healthcare Programme). Local authorities and relevant sectoral organisations should also avail of appropriate media (e.g. social media) to inform the public and small businesses of hazardous waste collection services.
Policy makers, regulators, product producers, importers, generators and holders of hazardous waste all play a vital role in ensuring that the generation of such materials is minimised, and the materials are collected and treated correctly in accordance with the waste hierarchy.
Each of the 27 recommendations in the revised Plan has a responsible body or bodies identified. The principal implementing bodies are the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the local authorities, along with facility operators and holders of hazardous waste.
The Environmental Protection Agency will promote and co-ordinate the Plan’s implementation, and will continue to take responsibility for:
Prior to the revision of the National Hazardous Waste Management Plan (2008 - 2012), a Proposed Revised Plan was prepared and a period of public consultation on the Proposed Revised Plan was carried out between October and December 2013. Revision of the National Hazardous Waste Management Plan (2008-2012) has taken into consideration the written submissions received. A summary of the principal issues raised and a compendium of submissions and responses was prepared.
The National Hazardous Waste Management Plan 2008-2012 was published by the Environmental Protection Agency in accordance with section 26 of the Waste Management Acts, 1996 to 2008.
A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) was carried out on the National Hazardous Waste Management Plan 2008-2012 during its preparation. A SEA Statement was prepared and this summarises how the SEA process was taken into account and influenced the making of the National Hazardous Waste Management Plan 2008-2012. An Environmental Report was published in November 2007 for public consultation.
In accordance with the European Communities (Environmental Assessment of Certain Plans and Programmes) Regulations 2004 (S.I. No. 435 of 2004) as amended, the EPA must decide if modifications to the National Hazardous Waste Management Plan 2008-2012 would or would not be likely to have significant effects on the environment taking into account relevant criteria set out in the Regulations. Following SEA screening and consultation with the relevant SEA Environmental Authorities, it is considered that SEA of the modifications to the second plan is not required. The original SEA Targets and Indicators have been retained in the revised Plan, where relevant, and a further Implementation / SEA Monitoring Report will be completed during the next implementation period.
The revised Plan has been screened for Appropriate Assessment in accordance with Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive and Part 5 of the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 477 of 2011). The revised Plan has been screened out for Appropriate Assessment, however, any specific plan or project proposals relating to or arising out of the recommendations in the revised Plan will need to be subjected to the Appropriate Assessment processes at the level of the more detailed sectoral plans and ultimately at individual project level, in accordance with the relevant legislation.
Download Report on National Difficult Waste Facility - Technical & Economic Aspects of developing a National Difficult Waste Facility. (incorporating hazardous waste landfill)
Download Smart Garage Guide booklet aimed at promoting best practice in Irish garages.
Download Report on Economic Study of Solvent Treatment aimed at improving self sufficiency in treatment.