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[greenyes] Irish Green Party launches Zero Waste Policy

From: "Monica Wilson" <mwilson@no.address>
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 2004 16:48:40 -0700

The Irish Green Party now have their Zero Waste Policy on their website at:
Read the policy titled 'Towards a Zero Waste Society' by choosing on the
above page: Waste Policy pdf version

The press release from the Irish Green Party website is included below.

Sargent accuses Cullen of a 'bury and burn' policy
which is foisting incinerators and superdumps on
local communities across the country

Green Party Press Office, 3 June 2004

The Green Party has accused Minister for the Environment, Martin Cullen, of
a 'bury and burn' policy which is foisting incinerators and superdumps on
local communities across the country.

"The performance of this Government since it came into office in 1997 in
relation to waste management nationally has been nothing short of
disastrous" , claimed Green Party Leader, Trevor Sargent TD, at a press
conference today launching the Party's 'Towards a Zero Waste Society'

"Minister Cullen and the Government have turned the waste pyramid on its
head by pouring all their resources into waste disposal rather than waste
prevention. The Government?s continuing lack of interest in waste reduction
and recycling is reflected in the poor progress on key waste objectives
contained in its 2002 waste policy document "Preventing and Recycling
Waste ­ Delivering Change". These objectives included the establishment of a
National Waste Management Board, a National Waste Prevention Programme, a
Recycling Consultative Forum, a Market Development Programme for recycled
materials and the drawing up of a public service waste management

Mr. Sargent said that most of these 2002 policy initiatives were recently
re-launched by Minister Martin Cullen in April when he published a five year
report on Ireland?s waste management progress titled "Waste Management:
Taking Stock and Moving Forward". "No explanation was given as to why he had
taken no action on any of these policy objectives during his first two years
as Minister for the Environment. It would appear that the only kind of
recycling in which Martin Cullen is interested in is the cynical recycling
of his waste policies."

"In fact, according to Minister Cullen at the launch of the 2004 waste
progress report, the most significant failure in terms of the National Waste
Management strategy has not been the unacceptably high levels of waste
generation nor the extremely low levels of recycling achieved nationally,
but the failure to deliver on incinerators in the six regions earmarked. The
Minister even went so far as to threaten that regions that block the
construction of incinerators could "suffer economically". An Bord Pleanála?s
recent decisions to uphold the planning permission granted for incinerators
at Duleek and Ringaskiddy were directly linked to the fact that such
facilities are in line with Government policy."

"Minister Cullen has attacked proponents of a 'Zero Waste' policy accusing
them of a "Paul Daniels" approach to waste management, and suggests that
they pretend there is a magic wand somewhere that will make waste disappear.
In fact, this accusation can be more accurately directed at Minister Cullen
who is trying to convince the public that incinerators will magically make
waste disappear, rather than converting it into other and much more toxic
forms of waste that will have to be disposed of. For every three tonnes of
waste burned you are left with one ton of toxic ash so where is the Minister
proposing to dump the ash?"

Patricia McKenna MEP said that aiming toward a zero waste strategy was a
very positive and radical approach toward solving our waste problems. She
said that the Green Party was completely opposed to incineration. "The
capital investment required for incinerators and their demand for a constant
stream of waste places a very real cap on minimisation, re-use and recycling
for at least a generation". She said that the Minister's comments about Zero
Waste betray his own ignorance about the strategy. "The Zero Waste model is
gaining increasing support internationally and is being implemented in
countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Canada and parts of the United
States. This policy document sets out the compelling case for introducing a
Zero Waste model in this country."

Environment consultant and member of the Irish Zero Waste campaign, Mr. Jack
O?Sullivan, said, "Instead of organising complex and expensive systems that
efficiently dispose of or recycle our waste, we need to design better and
more efficient systems of production that have little or no waste to begin
with. The Zero Waste approach avoids 'end of pipe solutions' that address
the symptoms and not the causes of our waste and inefficiency ­ such
solutions cause more and more problems, demanding more resources to resolve

The 'Zero Waste' approach is realistic ­ by the year 2001, some 40% of the
municipal authorities in New Zealand had adopted Zero Waste goals, some of
them aiming for Zero Waste by the year 2015 and others by 2020. Other areas
that have adopted a Zero Waste model include Australia Victoria, Western
Australia, and Quinte Ontario, Canada. Cities and towns that have adopted
'Zero Waste' strategies include Canberra (Australia), Seattle (Washington
State, USA), and a number of counties in the United States, including Del
Norte County (California).

Wicklow Green Party councillor, Deirdre de Burca said that "communities all
over the country have been crying out for zero waste solutions. ?They have
shown their willingness to adapt quickly to recycling initiatives to the
extent that anywhere recycling facilities are introduced they quickly reach
full capacity. The Green Party are leading the way on the Zero Waste
initiative as a waste management best practice model to replace the
'business as usual' bury and burn government model. Ms. De Burca said that
the Green Party approach to implementing a Zero Waste model contains three
main elements - Waste prevention and minimisation, the elimination of waste
disposal and the promotion of a re-use, recycle and composting policy."

Cllr. Claire Wheeler (Dublin City Council ­ Pembroke) said that it was a
known fact that 80% of household waste is recyclable yet this Government has
only managed a figure of approximately 12% nationally.

Dan Boyle TD, said, "Incineration doesn't 'deal' with hazardous waste it
creates an incentive to create larger amounts of such waste. A national
hazardous waste incinerator proposed for Ringaskiddy in Cork to 'deal' with
the hazardous waste created everywhere else in the country is inherently
unfair, and should never be allowed to develop."

Among the proposals contained in the Green Party?s 'Towards A Zero Waste
Society' are :

·The fast tracking of the development of recycling infrastructure and
central composting facilities nationally.

·Establish a Recycling Department within a new National Zero Waste Agency
and a Recycling Task Force to negotiate recycling targets with different
sectors of the economy

·Set up a Market Development Unit to promote new markets for recycled

·Introduce kerbside collection of recyclable materials nationally

·Introduce a mandatory system of volume or weight-related charges for waste
collection nationally and introduce a system of tax credits for households
that reduce the volumes of waste they leave out for disposal

·Launch a national ?Buy Recycled ? campaign

·Place a moratorium on the incineration of waste

·Set a date for phasing out waste disposal to landfill and promote, as an
interim measure, the use of Cleanfills or Residual Waste Landfills for dry,
non-toxic, non-recyclable waste

·Introduce legislation requiring the mandatory source separation of all
waste streams

·Phase out all mixed waste going to landfill

·Introduce legislation and guidelines regarding the definition and
management of Residual Waste landfills/Cleanfills. A simple definition of
cleanfill material is "material that when buried will have no adverse effect
on people or the environment". The Green Party sees the potential for
Cleanfills to be used for essentially dry, non-toxic, non- recyclable waste.

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Gary Liss
Fax: 916-652-0485

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