Tuesday, 24 February 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
485. Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the discussions his Department has initiated with the vintners and licensed trade to encourage recycling in view of the volume of glass and bottles not recycled by same. [5735/04]
486. Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the tariffs in operation against vintners and those in the licensed trade who do not recycle the huge volume of glass bottles consumed on their premises. [5736/04]
European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste requires member states to achieve specified targets in relation to the recovery and recycling of packaging waste i.e. glass bottles and jars, cardboard boxes and containers, cans, plastic containers and wrapping, pallets etc. Under the directive, Ireland is required to achieve a 25% recovery rate of packaging waste by 1 July 2001, increasing to a 50% recovery rate by 31 December 2005, with a minimum of 25% to be achieved by recycling, including a minimum 15% recycling rate for each type of packaging material. The 1994 packaging directive has recently been revised by a new amending directive which specifies higher recovery and recycling targets to be achieved by 2011 in the case of Ireland.
The latest official data on packaging waste arisings and recovery are contained in the national waste database report for 2001 published by the Environmental Protection Agency in July 2003. The EPA estimates that 872,917 tonnes of packaging waste arose in 2001, of which 221,266 tonnes was recovered for recycling. This represents a recovery rate of 25.2%, thereby enabling Ireland to meet its 2001 25% EU packaging waste recovery target. In regard to glass packaging, the EPA estimates that 105,273 tonnes of glass packaging waste arose in 2001, of which 41,156 tonnes was recovered for recycling i.e. a glass recycling rate of 39.1%.
With a view to facilitating the achievement by Ireland of the 50% packaging waste recovery target by end 2005 as specified in the 1994 packaging directive, new regulations entitled the Waste Management (Packaging) Regulations 2003 were introduced last year. It is envisaged that these regulations will support the progress made by Repak, the compliance scheme set up by industry to ensure the recovery of packaging waste, by ensuring that all members of the business community — large or small, and including the licensed trade — play their part in meeting Ireland’s packaging waste recovery targets. One of the principal features of the 2003 regulations is the introduction of a requirement on all producers participating in the placing of packaging on the market, i.e. manufacturers, importers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers — both Repak and non-Repak members — to segregate the packaging waste arising on their own premises, back-door packaging waste, into specified waste streams i.e. waste paper, fibreboard, glass, aluminium, steel, plastic sheeting and wood, and have it collected by authorised recovery operators for recycling.
The regulations further provide that such packaging waste may not be landfilled. Furthermore, the new regulations also clarify that packaging sold and consumed on a producer’s premises comes within the scope of the regulations e.g. bottles sold and consumed in pubs, clubs and hotels. This mandatory obligation on producers to recycle packaging waste arising on their premises applies to all beverage containers sold on licensed premises, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. On foot of the introduction of this new requirement on producers, combined with the continued expansion of the bring bank network under the local and regional waste management plans, it is estimated that the glass recycling rate increased to over 60% in 2003. My Department was not involved in direct discussions with the organisations representing the licensed vintner trade in respect of the new regulations but they were directly notified of the new provisions.
Further obligations are being placed on major producers i.e. producers who place more than 25 tonnes of packaging on the market in a calendar year and who have an annual turnover of more than €1 million. These include a requirement to provide segregated facilities for the take-back of packaging waste from the general public and to register with, and submit quarterly returns to, the local authority in whose functional area the major producers premises is located. Major producers can fulfil their obligations individually, or gain exemption from them by participating in an approved packaging waste compliance scheme i.e. Repak. Both options involve the payment of fees by major producers, largely related to the type and volume of packaging placed on the market.
Enforcement of the packaging regulations is a matter for local authorities. In this regard, I have allocated €7 million to local authorities from the environment fund in 2004 for stepped-up enforcement of waste management legislation generally. Local authorities have been requested to give particular priority to enforcement of the new packaging regulations in their functional areas.
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