Wednesday, 29 September 2004

Ceisteanna (1000)

Ciarán Cuffe

Ceist:

1181 Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he has plans to introduce a tax on virgin paper. [21302/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

A tax on virgin paper is not under consideration. A range of alternative measures to promote the recycling of paper are already in place and the available data show that these are having a significant impact. These measures include the progressive roll-out of segregated household collection of dry recyclables, or kerbside green bin collection services, to over 560,000 households, or some 42% of all households in the State — it is estimated that newsprint and other paper waste accounts for over 50% of the material being collected from households via the green bin collection service; a public service waste management programme which is currently being prepared and which will ensure that all public authorities will routinely use recycled paper; a producer responsibility initiative, PRI, which is currently being developed in consultation with relevant stakeholders to facilitate increased recovery of newsprint; a feasibility study under the auspices of the North South Market Development Group, NSMDG, on the development and assessment of paper mill options for the island of Ireland.

National waste statistics are published at three-yearly intervals by the EPA. The most recent national waste database report in respect of 2001, which was published in July 2003, estimated that out of total paper waste arisings of 804,411 tonnes in that year, 166,305 tonnes, 21%, were recycled. This is an increase from 94,302 tonnes, or15%, in 1998. These figures indicate that significant progress is being made in paper recycling. All the indications are that the recycling position has improved even further since 2001 arising from the implementation of the local and regional waste management plans.