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New Waste Plan for Eastern-Midlands Region

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As consumers we end up with a lot of household waste in the form of packaging, leftover foods and general waste. Most of us try to recycle as much as we can in order to help a greener environment. However, it can be tedious and impossible at times to control one’s waste where bigger homes with larger families are concerned. Waste seems to accumulate and at present there are many problems with waste removal and options to control waste. The environment is dependent on waste reduction to keep it green and without the problems excess waste causes the environment.

Last week, The Eastern-Midlands Region (EMR) Waste Management Plan for 2015-2021 was launched in Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin2, and it is hoped that this will eventually regulate and manage more than half of the national waste. The waste plan will be effective in 12 local authority areas and aims to provide a framework to prevent and manage waste in a sustainable manner.

Owen Keegan launched the plan and speaking the launch said: “As a society we traditionally tend to think of waste as a by-product which we dispose of after consuming a product. However, waste is an economic resource in its own right. By continuing to reduce the amount of waste we landfill and look for indigenous solutions to avoid wastes being exported for treatment elsewhere, we can achieve economic and environmental benefits for the region and wider country.”

The plan, led by the new Eastern-Midlands Regional Waste Office, is to prevent waste by reducing 1% per annum of household waste over the next seven years; encourage a 10% increase in the recycling rate of domestic and commercial waste – to be achieved by 2020 and to reduce landfill waste that are unprocessed, beginning in 2016.

To put this plan in action, considerable investments from both the public and private sector will be required. It has been estimated that €60 million per annum from the public sector and €300 million from the private sector is required to help achieve this objective.

Major stakeholders have been interacting and consulting with the Eastern-Midlands Regional Waste Office to get this project off the ground, including Irish Waste Management Association (IWMA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of the Environment and a few others, including members of the public.

The Eastern-Midlands Region comprises Councils of Dublin City, Dun Laoghaireand Rathdown, Fingal, South Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Laois, Longford, Meath, Offaly, Westmeath and Wicklow. Approximately 50% of the country’s population lives in this region; that accounts for almost 2.2 million people and of these people 81% live in towns and cities. The waste that is mostly generated by households, the commercial sector, construction and industry produces nearly 4.1 tonnes of waste annually (excluding agricultural waste) in this region.

Waste collection services in the Eastern-Midlands Region have been transferring to the private sector, especially in recent years. These sectors will be encouraged to work closely with local authorities under the direction of Dublin City Council, who will serve as the lead agency, and will publish an annual report to inform households of the progress involving the project.

The plan is to put in place activities to help educate homeowners on how to prevent excess waste, regulate householders, businesses and waste operators and explore the possibilities of arranging partnerships with the private sector in order to develop waste, energy and amenity infrastructure at closed landfill sites.

At present 81% of households have kerbside collection services and this generates 1.3 million tonnes of Municipal Waste, both household and commercial. 59% of this waste is recovered through recycling and energy recovery (500,000 tonnes exported in 2014). The Eastern-Midlands Region hosts 34 civic amenity facilities, 618 bring banks and an estimated 1,445 schools who are involved in the Green Schools Programme.

It is therefore important that a waste plan like The Eastern-Midlands Region (EMR) Waste Management Plan 2015-2021 is put in to motion to reduce future waste increase and environmental damage.

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