The purpose of the Circular Economy, Waste Management (Amendment) and Minerals Development (Amendment) Act is
- to provide for the making by the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications of a circular economy strategy;
- to provide for the establishment of the Circular Economy Fund; to make provision in relation to the Environment Fund;
- to provide for the establishment by the Environmental Protection Agency of a circular economy programme;
- to provide for a levy on certain single-use items; to provide for the prohibition on the supply of certain single-use items;
- to give further effect to Directive (EU) 2015/720 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 20151 and Directive (EU) 2019/904 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 20192; to provide for the making of a national food waste prevention strategy;
- to make provision for the use by local authorities of closed circuit television and mobile recording devices in certain circumstances and for that purpose to amend the Waste Management Act 1996 and the Litter Pollution Act 1997;
- to provide for the inclusion of targets in respect of re-used and repaired products and materials in waste management plans;
- to provide for the introduction of a requirement for segregated waste bins and incentivised charging for the commercial sector;
- to make provision in relation to the operation of the National Waste Collection Permit Office; to provide for a waste recovery levy;
- to provide for the making by the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications of regulations to regulate end-of-waste and by-product applications to the Environmental Protection Agency;
- for the purpose of giving further effect to Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008;
- for those purposes to amend the Waste Management Act 1996;
- to provide for a prohibition on certain licences relating to coal, lignite and oil shale and for that purpose to
- amend the Minerals Development Act 1940 and the Minerals Development Act 2017; and to provide for related matters.
Circular Economy Strategy
Circular Economy, Waste Management (Amendment) and Minerals Development (Amendment) Act 2022 provide for the making of a Circular Economy Strategy containing the policy objectives for the Circular Economy and that such a strategy will be published at least every 3 years.
There is mandatory public consultation. The Strategy must be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas.Policies and plans are to be taken into account in the making of the Circular Economy Strategy.
The Circular Economy Strategy contains targets in relation to reduction in material consumption, targets on increasing reuse and repair, and for actions to achieve these targets. The Circular Economy Strategy is to be published on a website of the Minister or Government.
Circular Economy Fund
The Circular Economy Fund replaces the Environment Fund and transfers any remaining funds in the Environment Fund to the Circular Economy Fund. The Minister shall manage and control the fund. The Minister may set out guidelines in relation to the carrying out of certain activities and payment shall not be made unless the activity is carried out in line with the guidelines.
The Environmental Protection Agency (the Agency) establishes a Circular Economy Programme setting out measures to be taken by the Agency to give effect to the objectives of the Circular Economy Strategy and that the Programme shall be reviewed at least once every 6 years.
The Minister is to make regulations setting levies for the supply to customers at supermarkets, service stations or other specified classes of retail premises of single-use cups, containers, packaging (or specified classes thereof) and plastic bags or specified classes of plastic bags.
In making regulations, the Minister must have regard to the material wastage associated with the single-use item or class or classes of single-use item.
The Minister may make regulations charging levies where he or she is satisfied that there is a suitable reusable alternative, or suitable alternative with a lower level of material wastage and that the alternative is, or could be made, readily available.
The Minister sets the amount of the levy having regard to the aim of reducing waste and reducing the use of the single-use item concerned. It also provides that the amount of the levy must be in the range of €0.20 to €1.00 for each item. The he Minister may alter the amount of the levy no more than once in each financial year.
The calculation method to be used in altering the amount of the levy is linked to changes in the consumer price index.
Payment etc of environmental Levy
The levy is to be paid by a person carrying out a business at a supermarket, service station or other specified class of retail premises. Regulations must specify the collection authority to whom the levy shall be payable and will confer powers on a collection authority for the collection and recovery of the levy.
A list of items which may be provided for in the regulations, including the keeping and furnishing of records, the exclusion of certain classes of single-use items from the levy, exceptions in specified circumstances from the liability to pay the levy and the payment of the levy into the Circular Economy Fund less any specified amounts which the collection authority is allowed to retain to defray the costs of collecting the levy.
There is simple interest payable on unpaid levy, at a rate of 0.0322 percent per day; that interest is payable to the collection authority; that levy includes any estimated amount which has been included in a notice served by a collection authority on the person liable to pay the levy concerned; and that interest paid will be treated as levy.
Offences re environmental levy
It is an offence to fail to pay levy which is due, to fail to comply with regulations or to fail to comply with any term or condition of a scheme in relation to payment of a levy.
In proceedings to recover the levy, or for an offence, it shall be presumed that the single- use item falls within the meaning of this section and that the number of items supplied to customers shall be equal to the number of items acquired for supply, until the contrary is proven.
There is a fine or imprisonment on summary conviction or conviction on indictment and should the contravention continue after conviction that the person shall be guilty of a further offence on every day the contravention continues.In imposing a penalty under subsection (4), shall have regard to the risk or extent of environmental pollution, and any remediation required.
Prohibition on sale of certain single-use items
The Minister may make regulations, subject to approval of Government, prohibiting the supply of any or all single-use cups, containers, packaging and plastic bags.
Any such regulations cannot come into force for a minimum of 6 months; Any breach of any provisions of regulation are covered by penalties contained.
In making regulations, the Minister must be satisfied that, in respect of the single-use item or the class or classes of single-use item concerned, a suitable re- usable alternative or a suitable alternative with a lower level of material wastage is, or could be made, readily available.
National Food Waste Prevention Strategy
The Minister may make and submit to Government for approval a National Food Waste Prevention Strategy detailing policies, objectives and priorities of the Government. This is to be done at least once every 3 years and provides for the Government to approve, or approve with modifications, a Strategy submitted to them.
The Act provides for the strategies and plans the Minister must take account of in making the National Food Waste Prevention Strategy. The Strategy is published on a website maintained by the Minister or the Government.