Written Answers. - Waste Management.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

408 Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government his proposals for the reduction and re-use of packaging for retail products; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10766/03]

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 re-usable and recoverable nature of packaging. Article 15 of the directive, however, allows member states to adopt economic measures in support of its objectives to ensure the recovery and re-use of packaging waste.

In light of the success of the plastic bag levy which has dramatically reduced the number of disposable plastic bags provided to consumers, An Agreed Programme for Government contains a commitment to consider extending the use of levies to other areas such as non-reusable packaging. In this regard, my Department has recently received a report from Comhar, the national sus tainable development partnership, which suggests that levies could be considered for problematic packaging wastes, subject to proper evaluation. Other economic instruments, such as deposit and return schemes, may also be considered in this context.
The new Waste Management (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2003 which came into effect on 1 March, contain significant new measures as well as strengthening existing obligations in the recycling of packaging waste to ensure that Ireland achieves its 50% packaging waste recovery target by the end of 2005 under the above mentioned directive.
In addition, as was indicated in the policy statement, Preventing and Recycling Waste: Delivering Change, published last year, a national waste prevention programme is to be established to promote practical and measurable waste prevention among producers with a view to eliminating and reducing waste, including packaging waste.