Policy on prevention, reuse, repair and recycling is covered under EU and National Waste Policy, Waste Plans and Waste Prevention Programmes. These publications are all available on our publications page here.
CRNI actively engages in policy creation. Our key policy areas as set out below. Recent submissions to policy consultations are also available for download immediately below
A summary of CRNI recommended actions that can help deliver a fairer and more circular economy are outlined below.
Becoming a more Circular Economy will require new approaches to every stage of a product’s life cycle and beyond. This transition will require a significant shift in Ireland’s policy focus and language to better align with the waste hierarchy.
CRNI recommends careful policy formation that ensures a job rich, just and inclusive circular transition focused on the wellbeing of all individuals. This will require a strategic mix of policy and financial incentives and penalties for operations and/or infrastructure that ensures prevention and preparation for reuse are cheaper and/or more convenient than waste activities.
The design phase of products is critical in driving effective reuse and recycling. Many CRNI members are finding it increasingly difficult to repair or refurbish goods, due to poor product design.
CRNI supports European Commission efforts to develop consumer labelling showcasing the durability and repairability of products including non-energy products and review local opportunities for same. We would also encourage leadership and innovation in this area through Ireland’s own design and manufacturing industry.
Targets play an essential role where the markets fail to ensure the right environmental or social outcome, due to a failure to recognise externalities.
The Waste Framework Directive includes ambition to set targets for reuse after 2024, and Sustainable Development Goals set food waste prevention objectives for 2030. However, CRNI is calling for targets to be introduced for reuse, food waste prevention and preparation for reuse all within the next 2 to 3 years while we still have a window to act on tackling GHG emissions.
CRNI estimates that only 1 – 5% of goods in Ireland are reused and many social reuse and recycling operators are deeply under-resourced.
We believe greater support and investment is needed in prevention and preparation for reuse through a suite of measures set out in our policy submission including enhanced green public procurement, a 0% VAT rate for reuse and repair, greater support from EPR schemes for prevention and preparation for reuse, tax rebates on donated goods, reduced rates for prevention or preparation for reuse centres, support for reuse and repair infrastructure and adjusting levies on plastic bags, introducing a levy on disposable cups and takeaway containers, introducing a levy on waste-to-energy and increasing the landfill levy.
We are also calling for greater support in overcoming the issues arising from “duty of care” in Irish tort law are an ongoing concern for the sector, through support for the Alliance for Insurance Reform.
An important part of the reuse cycle is gaining access to unwanted products and ensuring they remain in good condition prior to collection.
We recommend that Civic Amenity Sites are rebranded as “Recovery Parks” and are made more accessible by providing opening hours that better facilitate the public, provide reception facilities with trained operators that maximise the reuse potential of goods (e.g. for bulky goods, WEEE, paint), provide better signage and improved layout.
We would also encourage operators to partner with or provide priority access to donated materials for social enterprises.
An essential component to driving waste prevention and reuse is engaging citizens and supporting behavioural change.
To communicate the value of reused goods, CRNI developed Ireland’s Reuse Quality Mark ReMark. We are seeking formal recognition in policy and funding for ReMark to develop it to the next stage on an all-island basis and in collaboration with Northern Ireland’s DAERA. We also support the establishment of a centrally coordinated, multi-annual cross-sectoral communications programme involving all relevant stakeholders, connecting awareness raising efforts and channels, prioritising messaging and providing coherent, clear and simple communications that engages citizens and businesses.
Overconsumption and insufficient regulation on circularity has led to increased volumes of low quality textiles, unfit for re-use let alone recycling. CRNI recommends a national awareness campaign takes place focusing on the impact of textiles on global systems, providing consumers with options.
In response to the WFD requirement to separately collect textiles in 2024, CRNI is asking Government to prioritise second hand clothing retailers (like charity shops) in any scheme to maximum local reuse. Local Authorities are also encouraged to prioritise these retailers when procuring textile banks for Civic Amenity Sites or on public land. Furthermore, regulations are needed to provide greater control on textile collection banks (in public or private spaces), requiring clear information to be provided on each bank about the beneficiary of the textile donations and the identity and contact details of the textile bank operators.
One of the key services provided by community based reuse and recycling organisations is quality jobs and training opportunities. CRNI’s submission to the National Social Enterprise Policy Consultation highlighted the need for more joined up thinking on labour activation schemes in this sector.
We also want to see greater collaboration between DCCAE and DRCD to ensure alignment of policy measures that support the sector, and the creation ofdedicated funding streams or grants for activities that would not otherwise take place in the private sector. This will help safeguard the activity of social enterprises in their role as innovators, experts in their field and providers of social impact.
A more Circular Economy can deliver jobs across all skills levels, throughout rural and urban communities and across different sectors from craft to manufacturing.
We believe a whole of Government approach is needed to preparing for jobs and skills in a Circular Economy across apprenticeships programmes, further learning and third level courses as well as funding toward training and capacity building for social entrepreneurs, enterprises and businesses working in or moving toward a more Circular Economy.
We are proud of our social recycling members who are leaders and innovators, providing services that enable the recovery of quality materials for recycling with a view to the potential for reuse in the future.
We urge Government to introduce a mandatory EPR scheme to support and grow mattress recycling. This would be supported by increased efforts to recover mattresses through Recovery Parks in partnership with social enterprise, a ban on mattresses going to landfill and 0% VAT rates on the collection of mattresses to make it more accessible to the consumer as well as making it more viable for operators.
CRNI also recommends a review of end of waste criteria for components extracted from mattresses and a dedicated fund to test and develop markets for the reuse and recycling of recovered materials.
CRNI received funding from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and rural Affairs in 2020 to carry out a pilot establishing a reuse and repair network in Northern Ireland.
For more information about the project see here.
CRNI is part of a research consortium working on the Q2Reuse project, which aims to develop a methodology for the qualification and quantification of reuse. This project will be concluded in 2021.
For more information about the project see here.