Circular Economy Act signed into law
The Circular Economy and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2022 builds on the Government’s commitment to achieving a circular economy, as set out in the 2020 Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy and the 2021 Whole of Government Circular Economy Strategy. The Act aims to phase out a range of single-use disposable products over time while promoting activities that minimise waste and resource use. It defines the Circular Economy for the first time in Irish domestic law.
Key elements of the Act include:
- phases out single-use packaging
- incentivises the use of reusable and recyclable materials in place of disposable ones
- introduces a mandatory segregation and incentivised charging regime for commercial waste
- provides for the GDPR-compliant use of a range of technologies, such as CCTV by local authorities to detect and prevent unsightly and illegal dumping and littering
- ends the issuing of new licences for the exploration and mining of coal, lignite and oil shale
- establishes a legal requirement for Government to prepare a Circular Economy
- introduces a Strategy and National Food Loss Prevention Roadmap
- re-designates the existing Environment Fund as a Circular Economy Fund, this will remain ringfenced to provide support for environmental and circular economy projects
The Act amends the Waste Management Act 1996, the Litter Pollution Act 1997, the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992, the Minerals Development Act 1940, 2017 and the Electricity Regulation Act 1999.
The Waste Management (Environmental Levy) (Plastic Bag) Regulations 2001 and Waste Management (Environmental Levy) (Plastic Bag) Order 2007 are revoked.
Next steps include a ban over the coming months on the use of disposable coffee cups for sit-in customers in cafés and restaurants, followed by issuing Regulations on the Single Use Disposable Cup Levy, with the intention of making Ireland one of the first countries in the world to eliminate the use of disposable coffee cups.
A public consultation on new regulations in respect of the End-of-Waste and By-Products decisions making processes will go out for consultation later this year. Statutory Codes of Practice in relation to the use of CCTV and other recording technologies which Local Authorities will have to abide by to tackle illegal dumping will be drafted by the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) for Minister approval.
I (A) 26/2022 – Circular Economy and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2022 – signed into law 21 July, on Irish Statute Book 5 August 2022