I move amendment No. 24:
In page 45, line 21, after "agency" to insert the following:
"Recycling cannot be taken to mean the end disposal of waste, in particular through incineration.".
I suspect this will be the last amendment we deal with before the guillotine is invoked. I did not get an opportunity to speak on this issue on Committee Stage. There was, unfortunately, conflicting business in the Chamber at the time. I was seeking a clearer definition and that recycling be included in the section relating to BES, particularly since the Minister has seen fit to include recycling companies and other types of environmental enterprises in future BES. I have a fear that is shared by many in the environmental movement that there is a need for a clear definition of recycling.
We hear much talk, for instance, of recycling targets being met. However, much of our recycling material is exported in enormous quantities to countries such as China with a consequent large carbon footprint. It is also of concern that waste management companies which present themselves as recycling concerns are, in effect, waste disposal companies. If the Minister is willing to include companies engaged in the practice of recycling, then we need to be very clear as to what that practice involves. One particular loose interpretation of recycling refers to incineration.
It is Government policy to set up a chain of at least eight incinerators around the country and the Environmental Protection Agency, of all bodies, describes incineration as "waste to energy". There was a recent vote in the European Parliament on the current draft waste directive. This reclassifies incineration not as a recovery method, in which case it might be termed recycling, and wants instead to have it defined as a disposal method. That is the trend of thinking at European Parliament level at least, although some officials in the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government believe this is a mistake which might be corrected before the eventual directive is formally agreed upon. Nonetheless, our legislation should also reflect the essence of recycling being material that is taken out of the waste stream but not disposed of in other ways.
The wording of the amendment is fairly modest and, as such, the Minister should be inclined to accept it. I have put on record my support for BES and their continuation. However, there is a need to refine the initiative more and the recent study did not tell us half of what we need to know about their effectiveness. As a means of encouraging indigenous industry, it is as good a fiscal measure as any that exists. I know of no better instrument that may be introduced, at least in the short term. If, out of all the environmental initiatives that exist, recycling industries are to be brought into that genre, I would like "recycling" properly defined and I hope the Minister is inclined towards accepting a wording of this type.