Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
Question 419: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the plans if any he has to bring in a deposit on all aluminium cans to discourage littering of these items throughout the countryside; if he has any future plans to improve recycling systems in relation to our manufacturing and the end of life use of all non-biodegradable items; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7621/12]
Directive 94/62/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on packaging and packaging waste (the Packaging Directive) classifies items such as aluminium cans as packaging. The Packaging Directive is based on the concept of producer responsibility, which effectively requires producers to contribute to the waste management costs of products which they have placed on the market. Under the Directive, Ireland's requirement to achieve a 60% recovery rate for packaging waste in 2011 had already been exceeded by 2009, when a recovery rate of 70% was achieved. The material-specific recycling targets of 60% for glass and 50% for metals had also been achieved by 2009, with recycling rates of 76% and 50%, respectively, recorded. The Programme for Government contains a commitment to drive a waste reduction programme as part of the overall approach to sustainable waste management. A levy on packaging is one of the possible elements of this waste reduction strategy. A period of initial public consultation on a possible levy on packaging concluded in August 2011. The main issues examined in this consultation included:
· The overall views of stakeholders on a packaging levy;
· How a packaging levy might operate;
· International experiences of similar levies; and
· How a possible packaging levy might be structured to best contribute to a reduction in packaging waste.
Following on from this consultation, I intend to commence a full review of the Producer Responsibility Initiative (PRI) model in Ireland in 2012, which will include a review of the packaging recovery and recycling system. The packaging analysis will build on the initial levy consultation and will examine other relevant issues in the packaging arena, such as deposit and refund. The aim of the review is to identify any changes to PRI policy which are required to ensure that Ireland is in a position to meet more challenging waste recovery and recycling targets in the future in the most cost-effective manner possible.
It is important to note also that there are legal requirements in place in relation to the composition and reusable/recoverable nature of packaging. Article 9 of the Packaging Directive provides that packaging may not be placed on the market within the European Union unless it satisfies the provisions of the Directive i.e. it must comply with the essential requirements on the composition and the reusable and recoverable nature of packaging as provided for in Annex II of that Directive. In this regard, Annex II of the Directive explicitly provides that packaging shall be designed, produced and placed on the market in such a way as to permit its reuse or recovery, including recycling and composting.
The essential requirements of packaging are transposed into national law under the provisions of article 28 of, and the Fourth Schedule to, the Waste Management (Packaging) Regulations 2007. The regulations provide that a person may not supply packaging or packaged products to the Irish market unless the packaging concerned complies with essential requirements as to its nature and composition. In effect, those essential requirements provide that packaging must be prevented so that only the minimum amount necessary is used for the containment, protection, handling, delivery and presentation of goods. Furthermore, packaging must be recoverable - either by means of material recycling, energy recovery, composting or by biodegradation. I continue to encourage the use of recycled material in the manufacturing of new products through the RX3 programme. This programme supports the development of markets for recyclates, identifies new opportunities for waste materials and stimulates business ideas by providing support and advice for the sector. Further information on RX3's work to create markets for recycled materials is available on www.rx3.ie .