The Green Party has welcomed the Government u-turn on introducing mandatory minimum pay-by-weight charges for the collection of household recyclables. It says that the Government must now do more to promote recycling over landfill or incineration as part of its efforts to bring about better waste management.
“I’m glad that the new Government has recognised the futility of introducing these charges”, says Wexford Green Party Chairwoman Ann Walsh. “Given a choice most people will behave responsible and do what’s best for the environment. Why then should they be penalised for disposing of waste responsibly?”
She goes on to say that “We need to encourage an appreciation of the importance of recycling and of looking after our environment rather than implementing yet another charge when so many people are struggling to get by.”
This is a view echoed by party leader Eamonn Ryan in welcoming the Government decision not to bring in the charges. “It was a short sighted move. The public outcry against the charges shows the level of support for meaningful recycling initiatives. It’s now up to the waste management companies to ensure that recycling stays free to the public.”
The Greens have generally not been happy with the reversals by the last Government in environmental and waste management policy. They say, for example, that incineration should have no place in Ireland’s waste management plans. This is in keeping with the EU waste management hierarchy whereby recycling is prioritised over landfill and incineration.
When it comes to managing the country’s waste, Ann Walsh’s message to Minister Simon Coveney is to get back to basics. “Go to any school in the country and even the youngest children will tell you that the best way to stop waste going to landfill is Reduce, Re-use, Recycle. The Government must let the three Rs guide its thinking on how we deal with household waste.”
Ms Walsh said that she would like to see more done at a local level to encourage greater levels of recycling and composting. She mentioned a composting pilot project undertaken in recent years by Wexford County Council. “When tested the compost was found to be better than commercially available peat moss.” She also spoke of a recent Get Involved project, the aim of which was to get more households composting. “With a little guidance and hand-holding lots more households could be making their own highly nutritious compost.”