Dáil Éireann - Volume 638 - 26 September, 2007

Written Answers. - Waste Management.

Deputy Paul Gogarty asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his views on introducing a system of refundable deposits on beverage containers as part of the shift in priorities regarding waste management as outlined in the Programme for Government. [19783/07]

  Deputy John Gormley:All beverage containers are packaging. Directive 94/62/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on packaging and packaging waste is based on the concept of producer responsibility, which effectively requires producers to contribute to the waste management costs of products which they have placed on the market at end-of-life. Under the Directive, Ireland was required to achieve a 25% recovery rate of packaging waste by 1 July 2001, increasing to a 50% recovery rate by 31 December 2005. Practical implementation of the Directive in Ireland is organised mainly through a collective industry-based compliance scheme operated by Repak Limited which is working successfully. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reported in its National Waste Report 2005 — published in January 2007 — that packaging waste recovery increased to 59.9% in that year, indicating that Ireland con[658] tinues to exceed the current target recovery rate of 50% set by the Packaging Directive. This compares with a recovery rate of 14.8% in 1998.

The Programme for Government commits the Government to a review of waste management plans, practices and procedures. I am currently considering the terms of reference for this review including the question of whether it should address the issue of deposit and refund for beverage containers. At present, the arrangements for recovering packaging waste from consumers and householders consist principally of segregated collections for dry recyclables and an extensive network of bring banks and civic amenity sites. In considering whether deposit and refund has a role to play, account would have to be taken of the possible impact on existing compliance arrangements and national performance in recovering and recycling packaging waste.