Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, welcomed today’s approval of a package of legislative proposals by the European Parliament to increase recycling rates and reduce landfilling, warning that Ireland lags behind EU averages. “In Ireland we recycle 37% of our waste and landfill 38% of it. We are underperforming the EU average on both counts, and will need to cover more ground.
Speaking from Strasbourg after the vote, Ms. Childers, a Member of Parliament’s Environment Committee, said:
“We have managed to persuade a majority of MEPs to push for a level of ambition that is commensurate with the heaps of waste we generate in our countries.
“Parliament wants to see 70% of our waste recycled by 2030, with no more than 5% of it ending up in landfills. We are also proposing an even higher recycling rate requirement of 80% for packaging waste materials.
“Parliament is doing no more than restoring the Commission’s original proposals made back in 2014. High as they may sound when compared to our present capacities, they are not beyond our reach if national governments don’t waste their time and ambition.
“The waste levels we create nowadays are part of a simply unsustainable way of exploiting the earth’s resources, but the 180 kg of food each of us wastes every year, on average, is also a source of shame that we aim to curb by half. The same goes for marine litter.
“These are necessary measures but, in order for us to be able to live with the finite resources at our disposal on earth, we cannot just change the way we dispose of our things. We must look into why and when we dispose of them.
“We are in part lured to consume because obsolescence has become part of the design of manufactured goods. The production of goods that are repairable, durable and easily recyclable goods will have to become part and parcel of our industrial policy.
“We now look to the EU’s national governments to live up to our ambition as co-legislators on the waste package.
“We likewise look forward to seeing the EU Commission’s proposals for industrial requirements that will keep as many our recycled materials in the production loop.
“This is what we mean by a circular economy, and it is an imperative for the environment as well as the economy, as there is proven job creation in sectors where recycling beats waste.”