Waste Action Plan for the Circular Economy

The Rediscovery Centre welcomes the publication of the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy

Posted on 7th September 2020

Media Release

The Rediscovery Centre, the National Centre for the Circular Economy, welcomes the publication of the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment. Traditionally Ireland’s policies have focused on the treatment of waste and its quick disposal however this progressive action plan goes beyond waste to support prevention, reuse and repair objectives that will provide a more robust and resilient waste management system for the future. The plan also ensures that the sector considers the opportunities presented by the circular economy to support sustainable production and consumption and climate action ambitions of the UN Sustainable Development Goals SDG12 & SDG13.

The adoption of the circular economy is key to Ireland’s future sustainability. It minimises waste at all stages of the supply chain and ensures that we make the most of our resources by keeping them in circulation for longer. The requirement for all packaging to be reusable or recyclable by 2030 and the inclusion of green criteria and circular economy principles in all public procurement as outlined in the plan will help accelerate Ireland’s necessary transition to the circular economy. The plan places sustainability considerations firmly in the middle of product and service design and forces business to design out toxic and difficult to recycle materials.

In addition to enabling the waste sector to adopt circular economy principles, the action plan commits to supporting circular transition across all sectors through the development of a high-level, all of government, circular economy strategy driven by a dedicated unit within the Department. The Circular Economy can deliver sustainable business, jobs and training whilst protecting finite resources and its focus within this action plan is a welcome step towards realising those opportunities.

Commenting on the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, Rediscovery Centre CEO, Sarah Miller said “We are delighted to see the plan supporting circularity within the waste sector. Ambitions to pioneer national targets for reuse and repair ahead of EU requirements is exciting and this coupled with the new recovery levy, (placed on landfill and waste to energy) should result in the further development of innovative recycling, reuse and repair initiatives across the country”. Addressing the alignment with European policy she said “The plan echoes many of the ambitions committed to in the European Commission’s ‘European Green Deal’ particularly the goals of the Circular Economy Action Plan and the Farm to Fork Strategy. It is encouraging to see this proactive approach to policy implementation being taken and we hope that this will support Ireland to become a frontrunner in the circular economy”.

The action plan introduces measures to recover higher volumes of plastic for recycling through the introduction of deposit return schemes and establishing targets for waste collectors. Implementation of the plan will make progress on the elimination of pollutants and non-recyclables from the supply chain. The plan includes a ban on single use items and, for example a long term goal to eliminate disposable coffee cups from the supply chain entirely. This single action will have a significant positive impact on the Irish environment given that 200 million coffee cups are disposed of in Ireland each year.

The Waste Action plan for a Circular Economy includes many important goals across a number of priority areas including education and awareness, extended producer responsibility and the management of difficult waste streams. Actions which are essential to help Ireland’s waste industry evolve and to raise awareness with both producers and consumers.

The implementation of the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy will be supported by the cross-sectoral Waste Advisory Group which assisted in developing the plan. The Rediscovery Centre is delighted to be part of this advisory group and looks forward to collaborating further on its implementation and on the development of the wider Circular Economy Strategy for Ireland.

Further information on the plan and other related national and European policies can be accessed from the Rediscovery Centre’s resource library

More information
For more information on the Rediscovery Centre please visit www.rediscoverycentre.ie or contact Gráinne Lambert on grainne@rediscoverycentre.ie