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Waste Management

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 1 April 2021

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Ceisteanna (18, 33, 34)

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

18. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the savings achieved by diverting one tonne of paper, cardboard and plastic from landfill to incineration or to recycling, respectively in terms of reduction in greenhouse gases, reduction in pollution or other damage to the environment, reduction in costs of processing the waste and the creation of a product for new uses; and the estimated value of each of these savings. [17880/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

33. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the savings achieved by diverting one tonne of compostable material from landfill to incineration or to recycling respectively, in terms of reduction in greenhouse gases, reduction in pollution or other damage to the environment, reduction in costs of processing the waste and the creation of a product for new uses; and the estimated value of each of these savings. [17874/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

34. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the savings achieved by diverting one tonne of paper, cardboard and plastic from landfill to incineration or to recycling, respectively in terms of reduction in greenhouse gases, reduction in pollution or other damage to the environment, reduction in costs of processing the waste and the creation of a product for new uses; and the estimated value of each of these savings. [17875/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 18, 33 and 34 together.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for compiling Ireland’s national greenhouse gas emission inventory on an annual basis, and publishes information online at http://epa.ie/ghg/. In 2019, Ireland’s provisional GHG emissions are estimated to be 59.90 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2eq). The waste sectors contribution to this figure is based on emissions from solid waste disposal, composting, waste incineration (excluding waste to energy), open burning of waste and wastewater treatment and discharge. The entire waste contribution is estimated at 1.5% of Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions in 2019.

The EPA also compiles national statistics on waste generation and management in Ireland. EPA figures indicate 2.9 million tonnes of municipal waste was generated in Ireland in 2018, of which 38% was recycled, 43% was used in energy recovery and 14% was landfilled. Figures show that disposal of municipal waste to landfill has fallen sharply over the last 20 years reducing from 58% in 2010 and over 80% in 2001. The Landfill Directive sets a limit on the quantity of biodegradable municipal waste going to landfill; by 2020, it had to be reduced to 35% of the total quantity (by weight) of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) produced in 1995. Ireland has been in compliance with this target for some time with 145, 000 tonnes of BMW disposed to landfill in 2019. Further information on Ireland’s national waste statistics is available at http://www.epa.ie/nationalwastestatistics/.

The EPA have recently published the results of research examining the impact of Ireland’s landfill policy on greenhouse gas emissions from the waste sector over the period 1990 to 2018. The authors note that the net methane emissions from MSW landfilled was lower by 56.5% compared to their peak in 1995 with analysis indicating that Ireland’s policies regarding landfilling of waste has been associated with a substantial reduction in methane emissions in the waste sector. This research is available at http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/research/sss/ex-postanalysisoftheimpactofnationallandfillpolicy.html.

In addition, work is being carried out in the context of the forthcoming Climate Action Plan to provide a means for calculating emissions savings arising from diverting material away from disposal or recovery, further up the waste hierarchy into recycling or reuse.

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