We were delighted to have an interview with the EMWRO Coordinator, Hugh Coughlan, featured in the ‘Eyes on the Members’ section of the ACR+ Newsletter this week. ACR+ is an international network of cities and regions who share the aim of promoting smart resource consumption and sustainable management of waste through prevention at source, reuse and recycling. Dublin City Council is an ACR+ member.
The Eastern Midlands Waste Regional Office (EMWRO), based in Dublin City Council is responsible for the implementation of the ‘Eastern Midlands Region Waste Management Plan 2015-2021‘. This plan is underpinned by National and European waste legislation and our work will ensure the continued management of waste in a safe and sustainable manner. The Region covers 12 local authorities and spans an area equal to one fifth the total area of the country and serves approximately half the national population, over 2.2 million people. The vision for the plan is that to rethink the approach to managing waste by viewing waste as a valuable resource along with making better use of current resources and reduction of leakage of material, to include power, as a transition from a linear to a circular economy is made.
Hugh Coughlan, Regional Waste Co-Ordinator at the EMWRO presents us some key aspects of the Eastern Midlands Region Waste Management Plan 2015-2021.
ACR+: “What are the main challenges on your territory in the field of sustainable resource management?”
H. C.: “The Regional Waste Management Plan (2015 – 2021) sets out three overall performance targets that underpin its policies. These are;
- 1% reduction per annum in the quality of household waste generated per capita over the period of the plan
- Achieve a recycling rate of 50% of managed municipal waste by 2020
- Reduce to 0% the direct disposal of unprocessed municipal waste to landfill [from 2016 onwards] in favour of higher value pre-treatment processes and indigenous recovery practices”
ACR+: “What are the priorities of the EMWRO for the upcoming year?”
H. C.: “In 2017 The Eastern Midlands Regional Waste Office will investigate the opportunity to establish and expand management schemes for particular hazardous and non-hazardous waste streams including [but not limited to] paints, medicines, mattresses, other bulky waste, agricultural and horticultural chemicals and waste oils [where technically, environmentally and economically practicable]. This will begin in Q1 of 2017 where we will investigate the viability of running a pilot scheme for the management off medicines and waste oils. This will involve consultation with relevant stakeholders to examine the practicalities of developing a management scheme. It will be intended to roll out this scheme in Q4 to 1 – 3 local authorities where high volumes of this particular waste stream are available and this will be expanded if successful and practical.
It is also intended that we run a yearlong overarching campaign “Back to Basics” which we can use as a platform for all of our other waste prevention campaigns throughout the year. The reasoning behind this is to provide continuity across all of the campaigns, be it to do with food or reusing of items, by association. ”
ACR+: “Could you share with us more details on “Reuse Month”, one of the successful actions that you implemented?”
H.C.: “In partnership with Ireland’s 2 other regional waste offices (ACR+ member Southern & Connacht-Ulster) a coordinated nationwide campaign of events were run throughout the month of October titled “Reuse Month”. The principle behind this initiative was to promote reuse and reduction in the production of products, which would in turn help to decrease the amount of materials going to landfill and being recycled. The aim; to instil behavioural and attitudinal changes through the promotion of pass it on, repair, refurbish, repurpose, maintain and lend, all of which are ways that can give a new lease of life to the items we own. Reusing will cut down on our waste and consumption which is good for the planet and our pockets.
Reuse Month was a time for us to celebrate the fantastic work being carried out by organisations and groups all over the country who have already adopted and promote reuse. Throughout the month we worked with these diverse organisations in order to promote reuse by means of them displaying and sharing their inspirations and knowledge in order to grow and expand their networks.
A national promotional campaign was run following from the launch of Reuse Month in early September. This campaign was primarily run online by means of social media and the Local Authority websites as a way to reach a large audience and also to keep waste to a minimum. The increased promotion of reuse and repurpose during Reuse Month we feel helped in the shift towards a circular economy which will conserve resources lead to a more economically sustainable society which will generate employment while conserving our planet.”
To discover more about the Eastern Midlands Region Waste Management Plan 2015-2021, you can visit www.emwr.ie or contact:
- Hugh Coughlan, Regional Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Emma Cassin, Regional Technical Officer (email@example.com)
- Joanna Rourke, Regional Waste Prevention Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Declan Breen, Regional Resource Efficiency Officer (email@example.com)
Each beginning of month, the “Eye on members” section presents more in details a current member of ACR+ and its activities. If you would like to be included in an upcoming “Eye on members”, you can contact Gaëlle Colas (firstname.lastname@example.org).