The European Recycling Platform (ERP), Ireland’s only pan-European compliance scheme for electrical and electronic waste and waste battery recycling, has welcomed the recent announcement by the Department for the Environment, Community and Local Government for the commencement of a review and public consultation of the Producer Responsibility Initiative (PRI) model in Ireland. Martin Tobin, CEO of ERP Ireland referred to the review “as both timely and necessary”.
ERP welcomes the provision for the review of the operation of existing producer responsibility initiatives, including measures to improve the effectiveness of existing agreements in order to help Ireland more effectively meet its future domestic and broader EU recovery and recycling targets. In particular, ERP supports the acknowledgement that – in line with other areas in the business environment – the compliance sector should be more competitive and transparent.
According to Martin Tobin: “If the review is to be really effective, it will have to carry through on its proposed focus on the costs of compliance for Irish businesses. In the current challenging environment, when the Government’s priority is on protecting existing jobs and stimulating additional employment, any additional costs for business need to be taken out.”
He said: “As Ireland’s only pan-European compliance scheme for electrical and electronic waste and waste battery recycling, ERP looks forward to sharing our experiences of best practice across the 13 countries in which we operate and making a constructive input into the overall review process.”
The European Recycling Platform was set up in December 2002 by Braun, Electrolux, HP and Sony in response to the introduction of the European Union’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. ERP’s mission is to ensure cost effective implementation of the directive, for the benefit of the participating companies and their customers. This is achieved through innovative waste management strategies and by encouraging national implementation of the directive according to a set of core principles, fundamental to the protection of consumers and business, as well as the environment.
ERP is the first WEEE compliance scheme to be permitted and to launch operations in multiple European countries and thus the first scheme to pass on the advantages of multinational recycling operations to the consumer. ERP has proved to be the most competitive solution for companies in the countries where it has started to operate.
ERP is already operational in thirteen countries – in Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia and the UK.
ERP Ireland was established in 2005 as a result of the success and expansion of ERP across Europe. ERP is Ireland’s only pan-European compliance scheme, providing WEEE and Waste Battery compliance and a B2B service to members. To date we have 152 memberships and this continues to grow annually.
The polluter pays principal is a fundamental principal of environmental protection. It suggests that waste generators should pay the full costs of waste management services provided including collection, treatment and disposal. Responsibility for the costs of waste management focusses attention on the implications of waste generation and also provides a direct economic incentive for waste prevention. The Waste Management Act, 1996 established a legislative basis for PRIs.
The principal PRIs are in the areas of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), batteries, packaging, end-of-life vehicles (ELVs), tyres and farm plastics. The majority of these PRI schemes have operated very successfully and have enabled Ireland to reach its domestic and EU recycling targets. They have also successfully contributed to Ireland meeting its overall environmental goals and have diverted substantial amounts of waste from landfill.