We are pleased to announce the launch of our new research project on Ireland’s Circular Material Use Rate (CMUR), funded by the EPA.

Ireland’s Whole of Government Circular Economy Strategy 2022-23 includes five key objectives, one of which is to significantly improve Ireland’s CMUR in absolute terms and in comparison with other EU Member States. CMUR measures the ratio between recycled materials and overall material use. A higher CMUR score, therefore, indicates greater use of recycled materials, which in turn reduces the need to extract raw materials and the related environmental impacts.

Although primarily focused on recycling, the CMUR metric is currently used to compare the circularity of EU economies. Between 2010 – 2022 EU Member States have recorded large discrepancies in their CMUR scores. For example, while Ireland’s CMUR score has been measured at between 1.6 – 2.1%, the EU average has remained at around 12%, while the Netherlands recorded 30.9% in 2020.

Ireland’s consistently low CMUR score is concerning in terms of achieving national and EU policy objectives, and in developing new opportunities in the emerging circular economy. However, the data and data collection practices underpinning CMUR scores have received little scrutiny to date.

This research project seeks to build an understanding of why Ireland’s CMUR is so low and identify pathways for improvement by:

  • Reviewing data and data collection practices from Ireland and three other EU Member States;
  • Conducting a critical comparative evaluation of data and data collection practices;
  • Identifying pathways for action through which Ireland can improve.

Through these steps the research will identify discrepancies in data reporting between Member States, identify areas in which Ireland is underperforming, and identify pathways for improving Ireland’s CMUR score.

This project will be led by The Rediscovery Centre’s Research Team with Circle Economy and the Clean Technology Centre (Munster Technical University). To find out more, get in touch with the research team research@rediscoverycentre.ie.