I launched a new labelling system, unique to Ireland, on 21 June 2019 to help make it easier for people to recycle. Proper segregation of waste is crucial. It minimises the amount of waste ending up in landfill and helps us use our resources more effectively. The three new labels are voluntary for use by producers, manufacturers and retailers. The labels clearly identify whether an item is widely recycled, whether it is not recyclable, and whether more information should be sought before deciding how to dispose of it. This is just one of a number of initiatives to help people to recycle, including the development of a single nationwide list of recyclable materials which may be placed in the household recycling bin, and the launch of the website mywaste.ie to advise householders on all aspects of how to prevent and manage their waste. These new labels, which have been developed in partnership with the Regional Waste Management Planning Offices, will clearly show when to recycle or dispose of an item and I encourage all retailers, manufacturers and producers to take up this useful initiative.
Major retailers have expressed interest in the new labelling system, and it is being rolled out free of charge to producers, manufacturers and retailers. More information about the labels and how to apply is available on mywaste.ie.
Subscription to the scheme has been kept as voluntary because the European Commission has warned of the risk of market fragmentation when Member States take measures in an uncoordinated manner, which differ in scope, focus and ambition level. This can lead to a variety of restrictions of market access among Member States, barriers to the free movement of goods and to the level playing field between producers in different countries.