Waste management in Ireland: the potential lessons to be learnt from Europe
The management of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in Ireland is currently in a transitional phase. It is possible that Ireland can capitalise on its late-mover status and emanate European examples. However as the literature review explores, there is deep disagreement in Ireland over the technological approach to waste disposal, particularly in relation to whether the country should progress Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) or Incineration. Through the use of case studies, the waste treatment methods of various European countries are explored. The countries examined by case study are Sweden, Germany, The Netherland and Denmark. The main treatment techniques utilised in these countries are incineration and biological treatment. Germany also has a strong MBT presence. Germany has been the principal developer of MBT technology in the world and has been utilising this technology since 2001. These countries have employed a variety o f initiatives which Ireland can emanate. It was recommended as a result of this paper’s findings, that the Irish waste management system build on the established treatment methods. This includes expanding the biological treatment sector and utilising the SRF output from existing small MBT plants in Ireland. While incineration will come on line in summer 2011, it is necessary to adhere to the Waste Hierarchy. Accordingly MBT technology is preferred over Incineration. While incineration may be necessary in Ireland it must be strictly controlled. Taxes should be altered appropriately to reflect the waste hierarchy. Due to the economic climate, the Irish government should also consider partial privatisation of the waste management industry. This would promote investment in technologies and research and development. Awareness regarding waste management should be entered into the primary curriculum to ensure that future generations are informed. In conclusion it is necessary for Ireland to build on the technologies existing in the country whilst also integrating incineration. Strict controls and limits on volumes should be imposed on incineration facilities so as to adhere with the Waste Hierarchy. Privatisation should be considered to further expand the industry and develop the biological treatment market. Future study on this topic would be beneficial, such as examining in detail a recent late-mover in this field to aid in the development of the Irish waste sector.
- Theses - Science ITS 
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