The Climate Action Plan addresses the need to focus on designing out waste, prioritising prevention of waste at every opportunity through eco-design, reuse and repair, taxation and levies.

Some of the key statistics cited include:

  • An OECD study of four countries’ greenhouse gas emissions found emissions arising from materials management accounted for between 55% and 65% of national emissions.

  • Ireland’s material consumption is well above the EU average, and continues to rise as the economy recovers and grows. This indicates that there is scope for savings in greenhouse gas emissions through maximising the efficiency of our material usage.

Targets

Landfill Reliance Target:

  • Limit diversion of biodegradable municipal waste to landfill to maximum limit of 427k tonnes by 2020 and for every year after
  • Reduce diversion of municipal waste to 10% by 2035

Recycling:

  • Recycle 65% of municipal waste by 2035
  • Recycle 70% of packaging waste by 2030
  • Recycle 55% of plastic packaging waste by 2030
  • Separate collection obligations extended to include hazardous household waste (by end 2022), bio-waste (by end 2023), and textiles (by end 2025)

Food Waste:

Reduce food waste by 50% by 2030

Plastic Single-Use Items:

  • Ban specific single-use plastic convenience items including polystyrene food containers, cups and drinks containers in line with the Single Use Plastics Directive
  • Provide for 90% collection of plastic drinks containers by 2029
  • Determine and introduce reduction targets and measures no later than 2022 to be achieved no later than 2026
  • Ensure all plastic packaging is reusable or recyclable by 2030

Actions

The Climate Action Plan provides that the Government will lead the transformation from waste management to circular economy practice through delivery of a new national policy. It is also intended that waste legislation will be revised to incorporate new circular economy requirements, including legally binding waste/recycling targets.

A new National Waste Prevention Programme and Regional Waste Management Plans will be developed with the intention of guiding a transition to a circular economy by the EPA and Local Authorities.

Government will take the lead in taking responsibility for own resource consumption, particularly single use plastics, energy, waste and water.

Opportunities will be identified to strengthen the regulatory and enforcement frameworks and structures for the waste collection and management system, to maximise the collection of clean, segregated materials for reuse and/or recycling from all households and businesses, and to incentivise consumers to reduce, reuse and recycle. This intention is also to regulate and incentivise producers of waste, particularly packaging, to ensure the prevention of waste and the use of recycled materials in packaging products.

A number of possible environmental levies will be scoped, including a possible levy on single use plastics, as part of the review of the Environment Fund.

Finally, the Climate Action Plan provides that measures to address the key regulatory barriers to the development of the bio-economy, including exploring opportunities to establish “End of Waste” criteria for certain bio-wastes, will be identified and delivered.