Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2220)

Noel Rock


2220. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the volumes of plasterboard recycled in each of the years 2016 to 2018; the obligations on construction companies to segregate plasterboard under the European landfill directive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32356/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Environmental Protection Agency is the statutory body charged with the preparation of waste statistics in Ireland. It is my understanding that the Agency has not yet published statistics on plasterboard recycling, but will publish updated statistics in relation to Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste in September, 2019 in line with reporting requirements under the Waste Framework Directive. Statistics on C&D waste are available from the Agency's website at http://www.epa.ie/nationalwastestatistics/constructiondemolition/. Under a 2003 EC Council Decision, non-hazardous gypsum-based materials should be disposed of only in landfills (for non-hazardous waste) in cells where no biodegradable waste is accepted. Licensing of landfills and enforcement of licence conditions are statutory functions of the Environmental Protection Agency. Under section 60(3) of the Waste Management Act 1996, I am precluded from exercising any power or control in relation to the performance by the Agency, in particular circumstances, of a statutory function vested in it.

There is no specific requirement under the Landfill Directive to segregate plasterboard. However, construction companies are required, under planning legislation, to prepare site Waste Management Plans which, inter alia , outline the manner in which clients, planners, designers, contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers can act co-operatively in order to reduce C&D waste arisings and to improve the manner in which any waste generated is managed.

Furthermore, Ireland must transpose the EU Circular Economy package by July 2020 and as part of this process my officials will, inter alia, examine if there is a need for specific measures to require the on-site segregation of C&D waste / materials.

In June 2018, my Department also established a Construction Waste Resource Group comprising key Construction and Demolition sector and Waste sector stakeholders, including policy, regulatory and industry representatives to provide a valuable platform to discuss and monitor C&D waste issues, including how the sector can better prevent and recycle C&D waste. At the last meeting of the group, Gyproc Ireland gave a presentation to members on plasterboard recycling in Ireland. A subgroup of the Construction Waste Resource Group chaired by the Agency is also continuing to work on developing approaches to further encourage waste prevention & segregation on construction sites, including through the development of a repository of best practice guidance documents which is available at https://www.epa.ie/waste/nwpp/candd/.