Wednesday, 7 May 2003
Dáil Eireann Debate
710. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the data available to him on the extent of the switch from the use of glass to the use of plastic over the past decade; if there are regulatory obligations which are accelerating this trend; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11499/03]
711. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government his estimate of the total use of plastic bottles here; the extent to which this has grown during the past decade; the obstacles which he has identified in the path of introducing widespread recycling of plastic bottles here in terms of the collecting, preparing, compacting and reusing of plastic bottles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11500/03]
The 1998 EPA national waste database report contains information on the estimated amount of plastic and glass waste arising in Ireland. It shows growth in waste arising from both waste streams since the previous database report for 1995. However, specific data on the use of plastic beverage containers, or the extent of any switch from glass to plastic over the past decade, is not contained in the report. The EPA is expected to publish the 2001 national waste database report shortly.
The recycling of post-consumer plastic beverage containers and other types of plastic packaging is generally more problematic than for other packaging materials, due to the light weight to volume ratio, sorting and pre-treatment requirements, high end market specifications and associated costs involved. Accordingly, the recycling rate of plastic packaging is generally lower than that of other packaging materials.
The local and regional waste management plans which are now being implemented provide for a significantly increased network of bring facilities to facilitate increased collection of recyclables, including plastic beverage containers. Receptacles for the deposit of such containers are already in place in a number of areas. I am aware of one indigenous company which has limited facilities for the sorting, washing and pre-treatment of used plastic beverage containers.
The local and regional waste management plans also provide for the progressive introduction of segregated household collection of dry recyclables. Approximately one third of all households already have these services. The collection of plastic beverage containers under such arrangements is contingent on the availability of material recovery facilities, at which dry recyclables are sorted and baled for onward delivery to reprocessing outlets. Since November 2002, I have announced the allocation of over €22 million in grant assistance towards the provision of waste recovery infrastructure under the waste infrastructure capital grants scheme announced earlier last year. This is supporting the development, inter alia, of bring banks, civic amenity sites and two material recovery facilities, facilitating increased collection and recovery of plastic beverage containers and other recyclables in the years ahead. Further allocations will be announced during the year.
Article 18 of European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste prohibits member states from impeding the placing on the market of packaging which satisfies the provisions of the directive, that is, which is in accordance with the essential requirements in Annex II of the directive as to the composition and the reusable and recoverable nature of packaging. The directive, however, allows member states to adopt measures, including economic measures, in support of the objectives of the directive to ensure the recovery of packaging waste. The use of such measures will be kept under review.
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