Phil Hogan, outgoing Minister for Environment and now EU Commissioner Designate has announced the publication of the RPS led report on the Waste Producer Responsibility Initiative (PRI) model in Ireland. This report reviews the current ‘producer responsibility initiatives’ for various priority waste streams like packaging, electric waste, waste batteries, farm plastics, waste tyres and end of life vehicles.
“This comprehensive report is the first to provide a detailed and robust scrutiny of the process whereby producers take responsibility for the products they place on the market at their end of life. Accordingly, I am pleased to note the report’s key finding that the producer responsibility model in Ireland has operated successfully and has succeeded in meeting the majority of our domestic and European Waste Targets” stated Minister Hogan.
The report highlights challenges that need to be overcome, particularly in the area of waste tyres and end of life vehicles. The Minister addressed this issue by giving priority to certain reports ensuring that they would be completed ahead of the main report. Minister Hogan established working groups within the Tyres and ELV sectors where he has observed progress being made.
Commenting on the report he noted that it is “an in-depth study of an area where there are many complex topics and issues which are shared by a number of economic operators who are involved in producer responsibility. This report will have positive affects for the stakeholders within the sector – including producers, the compliance schemes, local authorities, regulatory authorities and the general public who have shown their strong support for the recycling in Ireland. These recommendations will bring regulatory clarity to many aspects of the sector, will make the structure clearer, with less administrative burden while also importantly contributing to Ireland continuing to reach our environmental goals.”
Within the report there are approximately 170 recommendations, some include:
• A mandate for the Producer Responsibility Organisations (PRO’s) to collaborate with one another or the EPA with a view to launching cross stream education and awareness initiatives.
• Establishment of a dedicated PRI enforcement unit or centre of excellence in line with the roll-out of new local authority enforcement structures. The unit would be set up to facilitate the concentration of specialised expertise at national and regional levels, facilitating the coordination of PRI enforcement activities and the tackling of transboundary illegal activities.
• PROs to develop proposals for encouraging waste prevention and reuse in line with EU, national and regional policies and programmes.
• The State to investigate the possibility of instructing the PROs to direct waste to be processed in Ireland using only national waste infrastructure.
• Reducing administrative costs by limiting duplication in terms of systems and data and facilitating data sharing.
• The development of a centralised electronic registration system for obligated producers.
• The report identified other waste streams which might be suitable for development as PRI’s.
Minister Hogan expressed his gratitude “to all of the stakeholders across the sector that have contributed to this review and offered their input. I am announcing a further period of consultation on this final report which will run until mid-September.”
1. The review of the Producer Responsibility Initiative commenced in June, 2012 with a public consultation. Four reports were completed in advance of the main report. Details of these reports and their date of publication are:
• Corporate Governance, July 2013
• Consideration of a Packaging Levy, September 2013
• End of Life Vehicles, November 2013
• Tyres and Waste Tyres, November 2013
2. The Principal producer responsibility initiatives currently operating in Ireland are:
• Waste (from) Electrical & Electronic Products (WEEE)
• End of Life Vehicles (ELV’S)
• Farm Plastics
3. Definition of Producer Responsibility
Extended Producer Responsibility is a concept where manufacturers and importers of products should bear a significant degree of responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products throughout the product life-cycle – including upstream impacts inherent in the selection of materials for the products, impacts from manufacturers’ production process itself and downstream impacts from the use and disposal of the products.
Producers accept their responsibility when designing their products to minimise life-cycle environmental impacts and when accepting legal, physical or socio-economic responsibility for environmental impacts that cannot be eliminated by design (OECD Definition).
These comprehensive reports on the Review of the Producer Responsibility Initiatives were produced for the Department of the Environment Community and Local Government by Consultants RPS – in association with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), Philip Lee Solicitors and BIO by Deloitte.
Olivier Gaillot: firstname.lastname@example.org