European, national and regional waste management policy is predicated on the waste hierarchy as set out in Article 4 of the 2008 Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC), whereby the prevention, preparing for reuse, recycling and other recovery of waste are preferred options to the disposal or landfilling of waste.
Ireland’s recycling rate for municipal waste was 38% in 2018.
The landfill rate for municipal waste was just 14% in 2018, representing a significant reduction from the 2017 figure of 23% and continuing the ongoing welcome decline from the 62% recorded for 2008. 43% of municipal waste was incinerated for energy recovery in 2018, significantly higher than the 32% recorded for 2017. Just 7% of municipal waste was incinerated as recently as 2012. Significantly more residual waste is now used as a fuel (energy recovery) than disposed to landfill. Further information is available at http://www.epa.ie/nationalwastestatistics/municipal/
New waste management targets in the EU Landfill Directive require Member States to reduce the amount of municipal waste going to landfill to 10% or less of the total amount of municipal waste generated (by weight) by 2035. In addition, amendments to the Waste Framework Directive require that recycling rates of 55%, 60% and 65% of municipal waste (by weight) must be achieved by 2025, 2030 and 2035 respectively.
I launched a Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy in September 2020.
This represents a step change in our approach to waste in Ireland, as it shifts the focus away from management to a fuller reconsideration of how we use resources and materials. The measures in the Plan are intended to minimise the amount of waste generated, eliminating waste before it can be created and diverting as much as possible to beneficial reuse or recovery and will help us deliver on our targets.