The EPA notes that “the data indicates the increase in plastic packaging recycled is offset by an even greater increase in the amounts of packaging waste being generated and incinerated and, as a result, Ireland’s recycling rates have shown a generally declining trend since 2013.”1
Waste Action Plan
The Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy2 is Ireland’s new National Waste Policy spanning 2020 to 2025. There is a stated awareness that “we need to embed climate action in all strands of public policy ...and... this Plan shifts focus away from waste disposal and looks instead to how we can preserve resources by creating a circular economy”.
The Circular Economy is defined by the European Parliament as “a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended. In practice, it implies reducing waste to a minimum. When a product reaches the end of its life, its materials are kept within the economy wherever possible. These can be productively used again and again, thereby creating further value.”3
The Waste Action Plan notes that “According to the United Nations, if food waste were a country, it would be the third largest global greenhouse gas emitter, behind only China and the United States. A transition to a circular economy offers the possibility of a sustainable alternative future and is a fundamental step towards achieving climate targets and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”