Friday 19 June 2009

Organic waste bins needed in urban areas, says EPA

LOCAL AUTHORITIES will have to provide brown bins for all householders in urban areas to meet new requirements to separate organic waste from other forms before dumping in landfills.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that from next month, landfill operators will have to demonstrate that all waste has been pre-treated by separating out dry, recyclable materials such as paper and packaging from general waste. This is done by using green and black bins.

For urban areas with a population of 1,500 and more, the agency says that it also expects the separate collection in brown bins of biowaste such as grass cuttings and food residues.

The agency will also announce today a review of landfill licences that will restrict the proportion of biodegradable waste allowed to 40 per cent next year, and falling to 15 per cent in 2016. It says that the new measures are required for Ireland to meet the terms of the EU landfill directive. They will also maximise the value of waste before it is disposed to landfill, reduce greenhouse emissions and help to minimise problems with bad smells at landfills.

Laura Burke of the EPA said that the new policy was another vital step along the way to managing waste effectively.

“Our aim is to make the best possible use of all waste before it is finally disposed of. People in Ireland have clearly demonstrated their willingness to recycle paper, plastic and glass. We must now help them to do the same with food waste. If the waste can be recycled or recovered, then it should not be going to landfill,” Ms Burke said.

Local authorities have been slow to roll out brown bin collection systems, with only Waterford, Galway city and parts of Dublin collecting significant amounts of organic waste last year.

Irish Times

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