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Irish Times - 14-05-09
Incineration levy and rise in landfill tax on the way

A NEW incineration levy along with a significant hike in the present landfill levy could be introduced by the end of the year.

Minister for the Environment John Gormley has received approval from the Government to draw up legislation which he hopes will act as an economic deterrent to both landfill and incineration, though the first incinerator in Ireland is not likely to be up and running until 2011.

The Minister said the current €20 landfill levy is insufficient. “We need to move a long way from landfill and incineration and through these levies ensure that they enjoy no economic advance,” he said.

The Minister is currently considering advice that would see the landfill levy double in the short term, and eventually quadruple.

Mr Gormley said levies would be an “essential element” in promoting recycling enterprises.

A €13 million fund has been set up to encourage businesses to become involved in manufacturing recycled waste into products that can be sold on.

Currently, Ireland exports 1.5 million tonnes – three-quarters of all annual recycled waste – mostly to China, from where it returns as products such as cartons, fleeces and school bags.

The Government is to provide the funds earmarked to businesses as part of a market development programme over five years. The money will go towards research and development for firms ready to transform waste such as glass, plastic, paper and organic materials into manufactured products.

Tenders will be produced in coming months looking to develop new composting techniques, while another tender will concentrate on waste plastic.

Speaking at the launch yesterday, Mr Gormley said thousands of jobs could be created by “waste entrepreneurs”.

The creation of “wealth from waste” was essential, as Ireland had to more than double to 80 per cent the amount of biodegradable waste that it must recycle by 2016, he said.

He said the fund would help businesses to overcome the low price for waste, and the economies of scale of operating in a small country which have deterred firms from getting involved in processing waste products.

Kevin McCabe, from Enrich Environmental, a Kilcock-based company which recycles garden cuttings into compost, said the initiative was very timely.

“Anything that stops material going to landfill and the mining of virgin material such as peat for compost is a good thing,” he said.


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