Shane McEntee TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, in his address congratulated Cré on the establishment of the Compost Skillnet, which will provide an extensive range of training courses for those involved in developing the composting industry in Ireland.
Minister McEntee noted that composting is a vital component in meeting targets for recycling and diverting waste from landfill. He pointed out that further increases in the landfill levy are scheduled and this will encourage the development of better alternative treatment options, including composting.
“Increased amounts of organic waste will be diverted out of landfill over the coming years and the composting industry needs to ensure that its members are in a position to avail of the opportunity provided by the change in Government policy and to ensure that plants have trained operators and can produce the highest quality compost.”
Agriculture has a key role to play both as a source of material for composting and as an outlet for the finished product. Minister McEntee announced that his Department has approved 12 compost plants using Animal By-Products (ABP), including catering waste, stating “Following an intensive consultation process between my Department and a range of stakeholders including Cré, detailed Conditions of Approval were developed in recent years so that everyone could be clear as to the standard required. The standards are high and in my view that ultimately is beneficial not only for the Department as regulator but also for the industry itself.”
Potential has been identified for the creation of more than 11,000 jobs in the composting and anaerobic digestion sectors.
Ireland also has potential market outlets for about 450,000 tonnes of compost each year, of which conventional agriculture would account for 250,000 tonnes and organic farming 64,000 tonnes. Minister McEntee pointed out, “The Irish organic market was estimated to be worth €100m in 2010, as compared with €66m in 2006. The European organic food and drink market, valued at €18.7bn in 2009, has forecast revenues of €30.5bn for 2016, so there is a huge market out there which Irish compost companies can tap into.”