Environmental standards in relation to the collection of waste, and their enforcement, are the responsibility of local authorities and are governed by the Waste Management (Collection Permit) Regulations 2007 as amended by the Waste Management (Collection Permit) (Amendment) Regulations 2008. The treatment and management of waste material is subject to a registration and permitting system by local authorities or licensing by the Environmental Protection Agency, as appropriate, and is governed by the Waste Management (Facility Permit & Registration) Regulations 2007, as amended or the Waste Management (Licensing) Regulations 2004 to 2011, as appropriate. The primary purpose of the waste facility permitting, registration and licensing system is to facilitate appropriate controls on waste facilities and activities so as to ensure good and consistent waste management practice and the implementation of high standards of environmental protection. In addition, under EU animal by-products legislation, composting and anaerobic digestion plants which process food waste are subject to approval by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
My Department’s role is to provide a comprehensive legislative and waste policy framework through which the enforcement authorities operate. The Government’s new waste policy, A Resource Opportunity - Waste Management Policy in Ireland, published in July 2012, includes a range of measures to ensure, inter alia , that waste collected in Ireland is managed in accordance with the waste hierarchy as set out in the Waste Framework Directive, whereby prevention, reuse, recycling, recovery are favoured over the disposal of waste. The work of developing new regulatory structures to give effect to the measures set out in the waste policy , including the use of waste such as organics as a resource, has commenced and my Department is engaging with a range of key stakeholders in relation to the detailed design of the new system.
Regulations in relation to food waste arising on commercial premises, the Waste Management (Food Waste) Regulations 2009, entered into force in July 2010. These regulations require relevant businesses and public buildings separately to collect all organic food waste to facilitate its diversion from landfill. Household food waste regulations are currently being finalised which will require the separate collection of such material, supporting its diversion from landfill to more productive uses. A comprehensive regulatory impact analysis in relation to the proposed household food waste regulations has been prepared and will be published with the associated regulations. It is my intention that these measures will deliver both enhanced environmental performance and a quality service for consumers.