Irish eyes are smiling

30th May 2007
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Environment Secretary David Miliband's proposed reforms to the British waste collection system have caused no end of bitter debate. But would the public be more welcoming if the Secretary of State took a leaf out of Ireland's book?

Irish Environment Minister, Dick Roche, revealed earlier this month that money gained from taxing landfill sites and plastic bags (all Irish supermarkets levy a 10p tax on plastic carrier bags given to consumers) would be ploughed straight back into recycling infrastructure.

'We are backing words with deeds,' he said. 'This level of expenditure will mean more recycling facilities for communities. Recycling figures are improving but with more facilities in place, I expect to see more improvements.'

€32m will be given back to local councils to expand their recycling infrastructure, along with €12m in grants to maintain existing facilities.

The remainder of the money will be put into waste R&D programmes, environmental education initiatives, schemes designed to tackle littering and systems to prevent waste being generated in the first place.

'We are making significant progress in this whole area and I am anxious that the progress continues,' said Roche.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist May 2007

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