Government policy is firmly grounded in the internationally recognised hierarchy of waste options which places high emphasis on waste reduction and reuse. A wide range of relevant responsibilities and powers of the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, and of local authorities, is contained in the Waste Management Act, 1996.
While objectives and targets for the reduction, recovery and recycling of waste are included in the waste policy statement, Changing Our Ways, there is, in addition, a recognition that reversing the growth in waste generation requires determined and ambitious measures from producers and consumers also. These are being pursued, for example, through the development of producer responsibility initiatives, and cleaner production and recycling initiatives supported under the Operational Programme for Environmental Services 1994-99, as well as through the requirements of integrated pollution control licensing, now extended to all licensable activities. This year I will be developing a significant new environmental awareness campaign which will promote more environmentally sustainable public behaviour, including waste minimisation, reuse and recovery generally.