I propose to take Questions Nos. 46, 64 and 76 together.
There has been remarkable progress in recycling in Ireland in the past decade. National waste statistics for all waste streams are published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). National Waste Reports have been published in respect of the years 1998, 2001 and 2004 with interim reports published in respect of 2002, 2003 and 2005. EPA waste statistics indicate the following progress in waste recovery and recycling in Ireland since 1998:
9% of our municipal waste was recycled in 1998; this has risen to 34.6% in 2005, essentially meeting the target of 35% set for 2013 in Changing Our Ways;
59.6% of packaging waste was recycled in 2005, compared with 15% in 1998. This is some 10% in excess of the European Union target set for 2005 and essentially achieves Ireland's 2011 mandatory EU target of 60% six years ahead of schedule;
in 2005, construction and demolition waste recycling exceeded the 2013 target of 85% by 2%;
the quantity of waste deposited at bring banks and civic amenity sites in 2005 grew by 12% and 25% respectively in comparison with 2004;
kerbside collection grew by 46% in 2005 while glass recycling grew by 9% over the 2004 level to reach 64%;
2.3m items of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) was recycled in the first year of operation of a new Producer Responsibility Initiative and broke the EU target of 4kg per inhabitant set for 2008 by 2.7kg;
the numbers of bring banks grew from 837 in 1998 to 1937 in 2005 and the number of civic amenity facilities grew from 30 to 81 over the same period;
since 2002 my Department has allocated almost €100 million in capital grants to assist local authorities in the provision of recycling and recovery services. The projects assisted include bring bank networks, civic amenity sites, materials recovery, composting and biological treatment facilities;
the amount of waste going to landfill has dropped by 8.4% since 2001;
successive National Waste Reports suggest a decoupling of waste generation from economic growth. Since 2001 economic growth has exceeded the rise of waste generation by 5.3%;
a farm plastics recovery scheme operated by the Irish Farm Films Producers Group has made consistent progress since its establishment in 1997 with an estimated 12,500 tonnes collected for recycling in 2005. The arrangements for the scheme were enhanced in 2006 to improve collection and recovery systems, including the operation of local authority bring centres;
the Waste Management (End-of-Life Vehicles) Regulations 2006 governing the recycling of scrap cars were introduced in 2006 and came fully into operation on 1 January 2007. Over 65 authorised treatment facilities are currently permitted by local authorities;
a multi-annual National Waste Prevention Programme was established in 2004 within the EPA. This programme aims to deliver substantive results on waste prevention and minimisation.
The Government is committed to continued support for recycling. The following measures, which are being put in place by the Government, will support the achievement of higher recycling rates in future years:
the National Strategy on Biodegradable Waste was published in April, 2006 and sets out measures to progressively divert biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) from landfill in accordance with the agreed targets in EU Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste. The Strategy is based on the integrated waste management approach established as Government policy since the publication of Changing Our Ways in 1998. The preferred options for dealing with BMW are:
prevention and minimisation — avoiding generating the waste;
recycling — mainly of paper and cardboard but also of textiles;
biological treatment — mainly of kitchen and garden waste including composting ("brown bin" collections and home composting); and
residual treatment — thermal treatment with energy recovery or by way of mechanical-biological treatment.
The Strategy sets specific objectives for the contributions that each of these measures will contribute to the achievement of the 2016 target for diversion of BMW from landfill.
a Market Development Group was established in 2004 with the aim of realising the full potential of collected recyclable material by establishing new markets for that material. The Market Development Programme is currently being finalised and will be published shortly;
the Best Practice Guidelines on the Preparation of Waste Management Plans for Construction and Demolition Projects, was published last July. The primary purpose of the Guidelines is to promote an integrated approach to construction and demolition (C&D) waste management, throughout the duration of a project. The Guidelines are designed to promote sustainable development, environmental protection and optimum use of resources. They provide guidance on the preparation of construction and demolition waste management plans for certain classes of project which exceed specified threshold limits. While the Guidelines may operate generally on a voluntary basis, planning authorities may attach a condition to permissions for the types of development outlined above;
to ensure the continued success of packaging waste in Ireland, new draft regulations which aim to optimise the recovery and recycling of packaging waste in Ireland were formally submitted to the European Commission in February 2007. Under the formal notification procedures to the Commission, a three-month standstill period will apply before the draft regulations can be made. This allows EU Member States and other interested parties to comment on the draft regulations before they come into effect. The new Regulations are the culmination of a review of the Waste Management (Packaging) Regulations 2003 which has been taking place over the last two years in consultation with the industry and public sector stakeholders;
my Department is also working with the relevant sectors of industry in developing similar initiatives for other waste streams such as tyres, newsprint and batteries.
I am satisfied that implementation of the above measures, in conjunction with the successful initiatives put in place in recent years, will further enhance Ireland's strong recycling performance across all sectors.