Race against waste stepped up

The race against waste steps up a gear in the New Year with a radical action plan to cut millions of tonnes of rubbish dumped by hospitals and universities.

The race against waste steps up a gear in the New Year with a radical action plan to cut millions of tonnes of rubbish dumped by hospitals and universities.

The scheme will focus on getting large organisations to adopt better waste management strategies, including waste minimisation and recycling.

Prisons, schools, colleges, hotels, government departments and local authorities will also to be targeted as part of the Race Against Waste programme, due to be launched next February.

The plan will also inform them of their legal obligations regarding waste management.

The 2005 Programme for Action will be launched by Minister for the Environment Dick Roche in February.

Hospitals, universities and other third level colleges, hotels, prisons, transport providers, government departments and local authorities will be targeted to better manage millions of tonnes of waste.

At present, only 13.3% of municipal waste, combined household and commercial, in Ireland is recycled and the Race Against Waste aims to significantly increase this figure.

Representatives from more than 25 organisations, including Iarnrod Eireann, Bus Eireann, the Dublin Airport Authority, prisons service, transport and education departments, the Eastern Regional Health Authority, UCD and NUI Galway, will offer advice on the best way forward.

Lorraine Fitzgerald, Race Against Waste programme manager, said groups were already studying the best information to ensure the action plan’s success.

“The stakeholder network has advised us on key issues and challenges that their sector has about waste and has identified what waste information and support programme their sectors need to help improve waste management practice,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“We are very encouraged by the huge interest that is out there among people in business and in the public sector who want to sign up to our various programmes to help them reduce the amount of waste they produce and to recycle more.

“Race Against Waste is getting people up to speed with their legal requirements and encouraging them to recycle and compost in the workplace, as well as at home.”

Latest figures showed 2.7 million tonnes of household and commercial waste, equivalent to 295,000 double-decker buses was generated in 2001 – an increase of almost 46% since 1995.

Earlier this year Galway Regional Hospitals adopted a new recycling programme to cut rubbish levels by 20%. The Galway plan involves recycling paper, cardboard, glass, inkjet cartridges and laser toners and is now in place.

The Race Against Waste programme will follow the same lines, it is believed.

To find out more about how to manage your waste at home or at work visit www.raceagainstwaste.ie or local 1890-667 639 during office hours.

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