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Food waste a priority for Ireland, says EPA

Food waste has been highlighted as a top priority in Ireland to ensure the country doesnt miss EU diversion targets for biodegradable municipal waste.

Irelands Environmental Protection Agency has published The National Waste Report 2007, stating food waste is a priority. Other progress indicators were that overall general waste generation had not increased from 2006. And, recycling rates had remained steady, with good progress found in relation to packaging.

The report also called for continued support for resource conservation initiatives such as the National Waste Prevention Programme.

Priority actions identified by the EPA were:
* Putting in place services for separate collection of organic (particularly food) waste at households and commercial premises;
* Ensuring adequate infrastructure exists to treat the large amounts of organic (particularly food) waste that must be collected separately and diverted from landfill;
* Developing outlets for the products of such treatment;
* Creating regulations/by-laws that can be used to enforce segregation and separate collection of food waste;
* Delivering the new waste policy, in light of the international review of waste management, as quickly as possible to provide certainty and allow for accelerated investment programmes that are necessary if organic waste is to be treated and landfill avoided.

EPA director Laura Burke said: Although significant progress has been made in managing waste in Ireland, the report clearly shows that Ireland is in danger of missing a key EU target for diverting biodegradable municipal waste from landfill. Urgent and short-term actions are required in 2009 to tackle the generation and recycling of food waste from households and businesses if we are to meet the 2010 target for diverting an additional half a million tonnes of this waste from landfill.

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