Written answers

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Waste Disposal Charges

Photo of John CurranJohn Curran (Dublin Mid West, Fianna Fail)
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237. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the steps he is taking to reduce packaging at household level in order to reduce further increases in charges on householders in view of the recently introduced charges for recyclable waste by one waste management provider; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13251/18]

Photo of Denis NaughtenDenis Naughten (Roscommon-Galway, Independent)
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Almost all paper and plastic packaging is governed by EU internal market and packaging legislation. In that context, as Minister, I have called on the European Union to urgently consider collectively banning single-use plastic items on foot of the EU Plastic Strategy to further protect the environment and to help alleviate the impact of the decision by China to restrict its intake of recyclable waste.

The EU Packaging Directive is transposed in Ireland by the European Union (Packaging) Regulations 2014. Under the EU Packaging Directive, Member States cannot impede the placing on the market of packaging which is fit for purpose. 

Repak is the approved producer responsibility compliance scheme for packaging in Ireland and is tasked with meeting recovery and recycling targets established under the EU Packaging Directive.  Repak charges fees to its members in accordance with the amount and type of packaging they place on the Irish market. These fees are used to subsidise the collection and recovery of waste packaging through registered recovery operators across Ireland.

Repak members pay fees based on the amount of packaging they place on the market; this incentivises them to reduce packaging where possible and in so doing to reduce their fees. To assist members to optimise their packaging, Repak employ packaging technologists who work with their member companies.

A lot of work is being done by Repak members to prevent and minimise the amount of packaging they require. However it should also be noted that packaging is there for a reason and sometimes even a small decrease in packaging leads to a large amount of product waste and as a result there is no net reduction in resources used. This is a particular concern for retailers as they try to minimise food and other product waste at their stores.


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