We are no longer a nation of wasters — and that’s official.
Ireland now produces less household waste per capita than the EU average and is recycling 40% of municipal waste.
Figures released yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency show that Ireland’s municipal waste generation has fallen 17% since its peak in 2007, both as the result of the recession and a decline in personal consumption.
Ireland is also achieving all its EU waste recovery targets with the exception of what the EPA describes as “end of life vehicle [ELV] recovery” — in other words, more old bangers need to be mashed.
The EPA figures also show a 5% increase in municipal waste recovery since 2010, to 47% in 2011. The bulk of municipal waste recovered, 73%, is exported for recovery and the amount of fuel generated from refuse at incinerators in Ireland and abroad increased by 68%.
Ireland surpassed the 2011 EU packaging recovery target of 60%, with a 79% recovery rate in 2011.
The figures also reveal a 83% fall in construction and demolition waste collected since 2007 and a 21% rise in household organic waste collected since 2010.
Jonathan Derham of the EPA said: “Ireland is well advanced towards achievement of all of its EU obligations across a broad range of waste legislation.
“In fact, a recent European Environment Agency report showed that Ireland was one of the countries in Europe with the fastest growing recycling rates.
“However, Ireland continues to show a substantial reliance on recovery of municipal waste abroad.
“In addition, some future targets remain at risk of not being met. Ireland’s continued reliance on landfill means that we are at risk of not reaching strict biodegradable waste diversion targets by 2016.
“Also, with higher end of life vehicle targets coming into effect from Jan 2015, urgent action is needed to increase reuse, recovery, and recycling of ELV materials.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved