Ireland: National report 2012 shows more recovered municipal waste than disposed

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Source: Environment Protection Agency, Ireland

Wexford, Ireland — The Irish EPA has published the 2012 National Waste Report. The data provides valuable information on trends in waste generation and management and show the impact of an evolving waste policy landscape in Ireland and changing household behaviours in relation to waste generation.

Municipal waste generated per capita has decreased by 24 per cent over the period 2007 to 2012 from 0.78 tonnes of waste generated per person in 2007 to 0.59 tonnes in 2012. Whilst the economic downturn undoubtedly had an impact on the levels of waste generated, this indicates a trend towards less waste generated and improved waste prevention in the country.

Dr Jonathan Derham, EPA Programme Manager, balanced: „The data shows that Irish society is producing less waste per capita and is deriving more value from the waste it does generate through recycling and use as a fuel.  Maximising the resource efficiency of all materials consumed is an essential aim of our transition to a sustainable economy.“

More recovered than disposed

2012 was the first year that the percentage tonnage of municipal waste recovered (59 per cent) exceeded the percentage tonnage disposed (41 per cent). This reflects a combination of measures including an increase in the use of municipal waste as a fuel (energy recovery), both in Ireland and abroad, as well as increases in the landfill levy for disposal of waste to landfill. These estimates also show that 40 per cent of municipal waste was recycled in Ireland in 2012 which is very close the EU28 average (42 per cent).

The 2012 National Waste Report also shows that there is approximately 17.3 million tonnes of remaining consented capacity for landfills – and, of this, about 1.6 million tonnes is operational. This equates to circa two years landfill capacity. Alternative treatment options must be developed as landfill capacity continues to decline.

„One of the top EU performers“

Dr Jonathan Derham added: „There have been significant developments in waste management in recent years as evidenced through the landfill levy, producer responsibility initiatives, the National Waste Prevention Programme and new waste collection obligations, which have been very successful in addressing our historically poor record on waste management. Ireland is now one of the top EU performers in relation to waste generation per capita and in achievement of our EU waste management obligations.”

Ireland also complied with the 2006 End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) recovery and recycling targets as required under the ELV Directive for the first time in 2012.

The 2012 National Waste Report and details of Ireland’s progress towards EU waste recycling, recovery and diversion targets are now available on the EPA website under epa.ie.

Source: Environment Protection Agency, Ireland