Focus must be on reducing packaging waste generation


"We have made giant strides in improving our national performance in the recovery and recycling of waste and packaging waste has played a central role in these developments - thanks in no small part to the efforts of Repak and all its producer members" - said Mr. Michael Kitt, TD, Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

The Minister was addressing the Repak Members' Conference in the Hilton Dublin Airport Hotel on Thursday 19th June. Minister Kitt acknowledged that - "as target recovery rates increase, heading towards 2011, the costs to industry of discharging its responsibilities under the Packaging Directive are growing."

One of more significant revisions introduced under the new Waste Management (Packaging) Regulations 2007 - which came into effect on 31 March this year - relates to the reduction in the weight-based de minimis threshold (one of two criteria used to determine major producer status - the other being a turnover threshold of €1m), from 25 tonnes down to 10 tonnes.

"On this reduction" - the Minister added - "this will have the effect of more equitably spreading the burden of compliance with EU targets across a larger number of producers." The Minister urged all stakeholders to continue to work together to meet the higher recovery targets that apply, under the new regulations, from teh end of 2008.

"Our focus needs to remain on the achievement of our international targets, while simultaneously reducing packaging waste generation. I remain confident that, by continuing to work together, we can achieve these common objectives and be to the fore in packaging waste prevention and recovery across the EU."

Minister Kitt added that he saw the effective enforcement of the new Regulations as being a key priority. "We cannot allow those who free-ride on the system to enjoy a competitive advantage over those producers who comply with their legal obligations. I want to see the local authorities and the Office of Environmental Enforcement intensify the enforcement efforts to ensure the success of the consolidated regulations. That will require the co-operation and active support of all the stakeholders in the sector" - the Minister concluded.