Minister is making a market for Incinerators
Minister Roche has announced plans to incinerate 20% of biodegradable waste instead of recycling or composting it
The Government plans to divert 80 per cent of all national biodegradable waste from landfill to either recycling, composting or incineration over the next 10 years.
The target is part of the National Strategy on Biodegradable Waste published today by Minister for the Environment Dick Roche.
The strategy found that almost three-quarters of all municipal waste generated in Ireland is biodegradable but that more than four-fifths of this is being disposed of in landfills.
"Landfill has always been our first reaction to dealing with biodegradable municipal waste. Now it must become our last resort," Mr Roche said at the announcement of the strategy.
The 80 per cent target will mean moving from 630,000 tonnes of waste currently diverted from landfill to 1.8 million tonnes by 2016. As part of this a target of incinerating 20 per cent of biodegradable waste by 2016 is proposed.
"If we want to set the standards in EU we have to look at all the options," the minister said. Minster Roche also said there were "real opportunities" for businesses in recycling and composting, adding "there's brass in muck".
A market development group is to be set up later this that will develop a standard for compost produced from biodegradable municipal waste.
The Government will also introduce a national waste prevention target for the first time, starting at 3 per cent per annum and rising to 6 per cent by 2016.
The Irish Waste Management Association (IWMA) gave a "cautious welcome" to the strategy.
IWMA director Erik O'Donovan said: "While this new strategy is welcome, its success depends on whether it actually enables the waste management sector to provide much needed waste infrastructure and services for customers."
© 2006 ireland.com
The Government has set a target of diverting 85 per cent (1.8 million tonnes) of paper, food and garden waste away from landfill within the next 10 years under a new national strategy for biodegradable waste.
However, up to one fifth of all biodegradable waste, or nearly 500,000 tonnes, will be incinerated under the plan.
Although there has been a significant increase in recycling biodegradable waste, it has also emerged that the Government will not meet European legal requirements for diverting waste away from landfill.
Under the landfill directive, the amount of biodegradable waste going to landfill has to be reduced to 50 per cent by 2009.
The Government plans to seek a derogation from this requirement but states that it is committed to reaching the 2016 requirement of less than 35 per cent of food, garden and paper waste going to landfill.
Under the biodegradable waste strategy, announced by the Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, "brown bin" collection services for kitchen and garden waste would appear in most large urban areas, in addition to large-scale biological treatment facilities.
At present such services exist in Galway, Waterford and a small part of Dublin.
However, two biological treatment facilities are planned for Dublin, which would allow for a brown-bin service for much of the city.
The plan also aims to increase paper and cardboard recycling from the current rate of 45.7 per cent to 67 per cent by 2016.
Residual waste treatment, which will involve some level of thermal treatment or incineration, will account for 22 per cent of the total amount of biodegradable waste, or 499,762 tonnes in total.
At present, 1.15 million tonnes of biodegradable waste are sent to landfill.
The strategy is to reduce this to 451,000 tonnes, during a period that the total amount of biodegradable waste produced will rise from 1.3 million to 2.3 million tonnes.
Speaking at the launch yesterday, Mr Roche, acknowledged incineration would play a significant part in the strategy, but said this could also involve the creation of bio-fuel from some of the waste.
"We want to have the best standards that there are in Europe, so we have to use the full range of facilities, including energy recovery. There's no point in our beating about the bush on it."
Mr Roche also defended the relatively modest target set for waste prevention of 6 per cent, saying it was the first time a target had been set.
"It's all fine to talk about waste prevention, but to convert that into tonnage on the ground is much more difficult," he said.
Mr Roche said he hoped that through discussions with manufacturers and industries, he would be able to ensure less waste was generated in the future.
© The Irish Times
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