Ireland's three new Regional Waste Management Plans were published recently, covering the new Eastern-Midlands, Connacht-Ulster and Southern Regions for the period 2015 – 2021.
In 2012, National Waste Policy reduced the number of waste regions in the Republic of Ireland from ten to three. The plans published this week, the third generation of waste plans for the state, are the first to reflect this new structure.
Since early 2014, RPS has been assisting and supporting all of the local authorities across the three regions in the preparation of the Regional Waste Management Plans. We have also completed Strategic Environmental Assessments and Appropriate Assessments for each of the plans.
The strategic vision of these regional waste plans is to rethink our approach to managing wastes, by viewing our waste streams as valuable material resources that can contribute to a healthier environment and sustainable commercial opportunities for our economy. They strive to improve the recovery and generation of energy by maximising the resource value and the energy embodied in our waste materials. They promote a move to a circular economy, in which we make better use of our resources.
Key overall targets for all of the plans include eliminating unprocessed residual waste going to landfill from next year, increasing municipal recycling rates to 50% by 2020 and to reduce the amount of household waste generated by 1% each year over the six years of the plans. Each of the plans underwent extensive public consultation during their development; they have been informed and shaped by the people and stakeholders in the regions.
The regional waste plans were formally made by the Chief Executives of each local authority on May 12th, with implementation to span six years. The treatment infrastructure required represents a potential investment of €500 million over the period.
RPS' involvement in the preparation of these new generation waste management plans continues our long association with waste planning in Ireland since the first regional plans were published in the late 1990s.