The call has been made as part of a public consultation on a new plan that sets out a framework for waste management in 10 counties across the south of Ireland, including Clare, during the next six years.
The Southern Region Waste Management Plan, which is one of three being developed in Ireland, seeks to assist and support the community and local business sector to develop resource efficiency and waste prevention initiatives.
Key targets outlined in the Plan include a 1% reduction per annum in the quantity of household waste generated per capita over the period of the plan, a recycling/preparing for reuse rate of 50% by 2020, and the elimination of the direct disposal of unprocessed residual waste to landfill from 2016.
As well as encouraging the public to engage in the public consultation process, the Southern Waste Regional Office is also urging the wider public to “Do One More Thing” to help reduce the amount of household waste that is generated and to promote waste prevention initiatives in the workplace.
“What we do with our waste will become increasingly important in years to come. As natural resources deplete we will have to reuse, repair and recycle more,” explained Pauline McDonogh, Regional Waste Prevention Co-ordinator, Southern Waste Region.
“The draft waste management plan for the Southern Region aims to move our management of waste from a traditional disposal model to a circular economy model so that waste becomes a future resource or raw material.
“Householders, businesses and even schools can kick-start this process by visiting our website at wwww.southernwasteregion.ie and learning how they can directly play a role in boosting household and commercial recycling rates and reducing the level of waste sent to landfill.
“Among the ‘Do One More Thing’ measures being promoted is the repairing and bringing back into use of broken household items, improving the quality of recycling so less recyclable waste is contaminated, and reducing household food waste through smarter shopping, improved food storage and more efficient use of foodstuffs,” stated Ms. McDonogh.
The preparation of new regional waste management plans for the regions has been underway since late 2013 following an evaluation of the previous plans which covered ten regions nationally.
Ms. McDonogh noted that “significant progress” has already been made in relation to waste prevention throughout the southern region.
Since the last waste management plans were published between 2004 and 2006, a southern region network of 770 Bottle bank sites and 50 Civic Amenity Sites accepting more than 25 categories of waste have been maintained, while a household recovery/recycling rate of 63% and a commercial recovery / recycling rate of 61% have been achieved. Nationally, a packaging recovery rate of 87% was achieved while an average of 7.3 kg of WEEE was collected per person from private households.
“We want to hear the public’s views on these achievements and about what more needs to be done,” stated Ms. McDonogh, who added: “We would ask people to have their say on the future of waste management by telling us their views before the deadline of January 30th 2015. The more feedback we receive the greater the potential for improving Ireland’s environment into the future. Feedback forms and the full plan are available on http://www.southernwasteregion.ie.”
The Southern Region Waste Management Plan is expected to be finalised by the end of March 2015. The Southern Waste Region encompasses the local authorities in Carlow, Clare, Cork City, Cork County, Kerry, Kilkenny, Limerick City & County, Tipperary, Waterford City & County and Wexford.