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  • Writer's picturePippa Hackett

Circular Economy Act becomes law

  • Circular Economy Act being signed into law today by the President

  • New law has potential to divert hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste from landfill and generate employment

  • It will allow local authorities to use CCTV to catch illegal dumpers

Pictured at my recent visit to Paltech’s site in Clara, Co Offaly. Paltech’s recycles plastic food packaging into a range of new items, including flower pots.

These new laws are the completion of several commitments secured by the Green Party in the Programme for Government relating to waste, resource use and the circular economy.

The circular economy goes beyond waste management by designing ways to keep materials, components, and products in-use in the economy for as long as possible. It recognises the finite resources that we have on Earth.

My Green Party colleague, Minister Ossian Smyth, is to be commended for his hard work on this legislation: It is a happy day to see Green Party policies signed into law. I anticipate they will not only help to deter illegal dumping in the Midlands but they will also generate jobs and lower and divert hundreds of thousands of tonnes of material from landfill and incineration.

Key elements of the new law include:

• Phases out single-use packaging

• Incentivises the use of reusable and recyclable materials in place of disposable ones

• Introduces mandatory segregation for commercial waste

• Allows for CCTV to be used to catch illegal dumpers

• Prohibits exploration for and extraction of coal, lignite and oil shale.

• Establishes a legal requirement for government to prepare a Circular Economy

• Introduces a Strategy and National Food Loss Prevention Roadmap

• Diverts environmental levies into a Circular Economy Fund to be ringfenced and used for environmental measures

Minister of State for Circular Economy, Deputy Ossian Smyth said “These measures, when taken together, will work to shift businesses, retailers, and consumers, off the current damaging and wasteful throwaway model to something more sustainable. This is simple stuff but it stands to have a huge impact’

The Circular Economy Act was enacted and became law today following its signing by President Michael D Higgins.

This Act underpins Ireland’s shift from a “take-make-waste” linear model – to a more sustainable pattern of production and consumption, that retains the value of resources in our economy for as long as possible. This approach will also significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

In a circular economy, waste and resource use are minimised. The use and value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible. When a product has reached the end of its life its parts are used again and again – to create further useful products, instead of being discarded which is an all too familiar pattern now.

The Act recently passed its final stages in the Dáil, and received broad cross-party support to introduce levies on all single-use packaging over time and where more sustainable alternatives are available.

The final version of the Act now comprises more social protections, including measures to protect low-income households and people with disabilities.


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