Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
499. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason for the delayed implementation deadline for extended producer responsibility measures, which following interinstitutional negotiations would not need to come into effect until 31 December 2024 (details supplied); and the steps he will take to support more ambitious targets for this directive. [9672/19]
In its original proposal the Commission envisaged Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) being in place for the following wastes by 2023:
1. Food Containers
2. Cups for Beverages
3. Beverage Containers
4. Beverage Bottles
5. Tobacco products with plastic filters
7. Wet wipes
8. Plastic carrier bags and
9. Fishing Gear
In relation to items 1-4 above, Ireland already has EPR in place. The deadline for tobacco products remains at 2023, which Ireland supported. A deadline does not mean measures will be delayed. Every effort will be made to ensure that mandatory EPR measures are delivered at the earliest possible date.
In relation Article 9, I would point out to the Deputy that the final text is more ambitious than the original proposal, which foresaw a separate collection rate for plastic bottles of 90% by 2030. The deadline for achieving this collection target has been brought forward to 2029 with an interim target to be achieved of 77% by 2025.
500. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to Parliamentary Question No. 509 of 19 February 2019, the reason he did not state if there is a protocol or set of guidelines for his Department on sharing information, including amendments that are not available to the public, with lobbyists, industry, NGOs and others during EU interinstitutional negotiations; the protocols and guidelines in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9673/19]
Ireland supported a high level of ambition throughout the negotiations on a proposed Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment. This reflects Ireland's position as one of the leading countries in the EU for packaging recycling and recovery. The latest statistics for packaging recycling for 2016, published by the EPA, show that Ireland has met and exceeded all EU targets for packaging recycling and recovery. In relation to plastic packaging specifically, Ireland has exceeded its recycling target by 60% - Ireland recycled 36% of its plastic packaging waste in 2016 against an EU target of 22.5%. The overall packaging recycling and recovery rate in Ireland has grown from a very low base to 88% in 2016.
When a new directive is proposed by the European Commission, the Irish authorities consider the proposals in terms of our national policy and objectives and any implications that may arise from the proposals. It would not be unusual practice for national authorities, from time to time, to seek or receive the views of experts and stakeholders when considering a national response to a specific draft proposal, although this process would not typically be set out in a formal document. This process enables the development of an informed national position by Ireland, particularly where there are technical discussions of this nature. I believe this is a common practice among all Member States and particularly in technical or complex discussions of this type.