Written answers

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Departmental Correspondence

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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5. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the action that will be taken on foot of correspondence received (details supplied) by the Secretary General of the Department; when all farm plastics premises will be inspected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48474/21]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is an environmental policy model in which a producer's responsibility is extended beyond the consumer stage of a product's life cycle. There are a number of these schemes operating in Ireland and they have proved very successful in enabling us meet domestic and EU recycling targets. The EPR scheme for farm plastics has been in place since 1998 and has grown significantly since then. The existing arrangements are functioning very effectively and the targets in place are being achieved, with a recycling rate for 2020 reaching 80% significantly exceeding the target of 70%. The regulations allow for any organisation to apply to the Minister for approval to operate a scheme. Any application will be assessed and evaluated by the Department. There is currently one approved body operating a farm plastic scheme, Irish Farm Film Plastics Group (IFFPG). Their approval was renewed earlier this year following a lengthy process and the renewal will last for a five year period, subject to periodic reviews. 

The current funding mechanisms used by IFFPG for farm plastic collection is in line with the polluter pays principle and EU requirements, with producers funding 70% of the necessary costs of the scheme and farmers contributing the remaining  30% of the costs. The fees collected are used by the operator to fund the operational costs of the scheme which is run on a not for profit basis.

Local authorities have a key role in ensuring compliance with the farm plastics regulations and broader waste legislation obligations. The Department supports local authorities taking appropriate enforcement action against individuals or corporate entities through the appropriate channels. The Department is also aware that the National Trans Frontier Shipment Office (NTFSO) are liaising with a number of local authorities to ascertain the extent of the storage of farm plastics and the implications for waste shipments abroad.  An effective system of waste management compliance is critical to the welfare of the environment and society in general.


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