Report on producer responsibilty in Ireland: Self-compliance system to be improved

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Papier-Verpackungen (Foto: Verband Deutscher Papierfabriken e.V.)

Dublin, Ireland — Phil Hogan, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government,  has announced the publication of the final report of the review of the Producer Responsibility Initiative (PRI) model in Ireland. Phil Hogan balanced: “I am pleased to welcome the final report of the review of the Producer Responsibility Initiative in Ireland. This comprehensive report is the first to provide a detailed and robust scrutiny of the process whereby producers take responsibility for the products they place on the market at their end of life.  Accordingly, I am pleased to note the reports key finding that the producer responsibility model in Ireland has operated successfully and has succeeded in meeting the majority of our domestic and European waste targets.”

The Minister also noted that the report identified significant challenges to be overcome, principally in the area of waste tyres and end of life vehicles. He added that “at the start of this review, I gave priority to certain reports so that they would be concluded ahead of the main report and allow implementation of recommendations to commence immediately. For example, I established Working Groups in the Tyres and ELV sectors earlier this year and am pleased to note the progress being made.”

Commenting further on the report, the Minister noted that “the report is an in-depth study of an area where there are many complex topics and issues which are shared by a number of economic operators who are involved in producer responsibility. This report will have positive affects for the stakeholders within the sector including producers, the compliance schemes, local authorities, regulatory authorities, and the general public who have shown their strong support for recycling in Ireland. These recommendations will bring regulatory clarity to many aspects of the sector; will make the structure clearer, with less administrative burden while also importantly contributing to Ireland continuing to reach our environmental goals.”

Several producers are not compliant

According to Repak, the report also says that the self-compliance system for packaging producers is not performing well and should be improved. It proposes a review of the self-complier reporting system, including fees paid by self-compliers to provide a level playing field between large self-compliers, small self-compliers and compliance scheme members.

While the recycling and recovery targets are well exceeded, there is a significant number of obligated producers which are not compliant with the Packaging Regulations. Non-compliant businesses put compliant businesses at a competitive disadvantage and risk undermining the whole system. The enforcement effort on non-compliant packaging producers should be increased and prioritised.

The report also says that Repak should examine how to reduce direct recycling costs in order to balance income with expenditure. Repak should also provide more transparency on the procedures for the calculation of subsidies paid to waste operators

The report contains approximately 170 recommendations some of which are cross cutting and others which are specific to individual waste streams and can be downloaded under environ.ie

Source:  Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Ireland