Waste leads to depletion of resources while contributing to Climate Change. Tackling the growth in resource consumption and decoupling economic growth is one of the biggest challenges we face in the coming decades. We need to shift from managing waste to creating an economic system that keeps resources in circulation and in use. Prevention of waste is at the top of the waste hierarchy with landfill at the bottom as the least preferred option. We need to build an economy that looks first and foremost at preventing and reducing waste including design for durability, looks at options to reduce waste including design for reuse and recycling and ensures that where waste is created there are opportunities to fully recycle producing high quality outputs.
Irelands policy for a circular economy is set out in A Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy 2020 to 2025 which can be viewed here . The policy gives priority to four key waste streams which are Food, Plastics, Textiles and Construction and Demolition Waste. It will deliver on the ban for single use plastics, promote citizen engagement and require a greening on procurement. Wicklow County Council has already committed to the ban on single use plastics and is addressing how Green Procurement can be used to promote more sustainable consumption of resources.
Wicklow County Council has been a member of the EPAs Local Authority Prevention Network, LAPN since its began in 2005. The network undertakes work on demonstration projects addressing resource consumption and sustainability and facilitates collaboration between local authorities on waste prevention initiatives. The EPA provides annual funding opportunities for the development of new demonstration projects. Wicklow County Council has worked on a range of themes including food waste, repair services, composting of waste, textiles, furniture and hazardous waste with diverse sectors including businesses, community groups, schools and campaigns focused on the public. Visit here for more information on LAPN.
The My Waste website www.mywaste.ie provides great advice and tips on how to prevent waste and current campaigns on the topic.