Food Waste Recycling in Ireland – A stunted opportunity primed for growth 01.06.2022

Pictured at the launch of the Cré report are Tony Breton (Chair of Cré), Ossian Smyth, Minister of State with special responsibility for Communications and Circular Economy & Percy Foster (CEO of Cré)

Over 300,000 tonnes of municipal organic waste collected last year in Ireland

Less than 15% of wasted food recycled in Ireland

Exports of organic waste contribute over 1 million road truck kilometres

 

Yesterday at the St. Stephen Green Club, Dublin, Cré published a report which show despite recent growth and improvements in food waste collection Ireland is lagging in its ability to deliver true climate benefits by limiting the amount recycled locally. Data shows that of the 300,000 tonnes of municipal food and garden waste collected in Ireland in 2020 over 100,000 tonnes of it was exported to facilities in Northern Ireland.  Whilst being legally acceptable and still able to contribute to Ireland’s national recycling targets, the result is organic recycling facilities in Ireland are being pushed to the brink.

The Environmental Protection Agency report[1] estimates that Ireland generates approximately 1 million tonnes of food waste. In Ireland we are currently collecting under a third of this and recycling less than half locally into quality compost and digestate which can be used in the agriculture as a soil improver, fertiliser replacement or as a peat replacement in the horticultural sector. To add to the environmental impact of not seizing this opportunity to the max, exports to the north contribute over 1 million road truck kilometres a year.

Tony Breton (Chair of Cré) said “Ireland has to recognise the economic and environmental opportunities which are thrown away everyday as garden and food wastes. It is failure of common sense when organic waste, which can be transformed locally is transported hundred of kilometres to save someone a few euro with complete disregard for the pollution, local job losses and creation of barriers to local investment it causes.”

Quality composts and digestates are available today to supply nutrients and organic matter which benefit our soils whilst helping farmers avoid the costs of expensive fossil fuel based chemical fertilisers.

Keith Swan from the conservation agriculture farming group BASE Ireland said “as the beginning and end of the compost & digestate chain, we feel it would be if huge advantage to Irish farmers and their soils, to have food and garden wastes recycled locally. This would assist in closing the nutrient loop in agriculture and build carbon content in Irish soils”

Tony said “We call on everyone to support National Food Waste Recycling Week and to separate correctly their food and garden waste into their brown bin but equally we call on government to take the opportunity of the Circular Economy Bill to enable investable local solutions to create the high value, high quality organic fertilisers and soil improvers demanded by Irish farmers.”

Ends

* – 1 million kilometre calculation. The Cré report identified a net of 93KT organic waste exports to NI from Ireland. Considering, the max payload of 1 truck is 26T, and the distance from Dublin to Belfast of 166KM, you have 3576 truck movements in each direction. 3576x2x166=1187232 KM. It is clearly an estimation, it is not possible under the current transparency rules to fully understand the movement of waste inter and intra Ireland.

Contacts:

Percy Foster, Chief Executive

E: percy@cre.ie

T: 086812960

Notes to Editors:

About the Cré – Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland CLG

Established in 2001, Cré is the Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland. Cré (which is the Irish word for ‘soil’), is a non-profit association of public and private organisations, dedicated to growing the biological treatment sector. Cré supports the production of high-quality outputs, assists the delivery of Government waste diversion and bioenergy targets, and promotes the creation of sustainable indigenous jobs.

Cré has a broad membership base ranging from compost and anaerobic digestion facilities, waste companies, local authorities, technology providers, local authorities, consultants and third level colleges. Cré is recognised by Government and agencies as the voice of the industry in Ireland and Northern Ireland. It is frequently called on to give the industry view on future policy and legislation. Cré is a member of the European Compost Network, the World Biogas Association, the European Biogas Association and the World Compost Alliance. Cré has a Board of Directors and technical committees. See www.cre.ie      


[1] NWPP-Food-Waste-Report.pdf (epa.ie)

Recycling Food Waste is a positive climate action

National Food Waste Recycling Week which runs from the 30th May until the 6th June 2022 is a new national campaign from MyWaste.ie to encourage people to recycle their food waste.

A previous study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that approximately 50% of household organic waste was being disposed of in the wrong bins. By segregating food waste correctly, it can be transformed into renewable energy and bio-fertilisers for horticulture and agricultural use.

Minister Ossian Smyth, Minister of State with responsibility for Public Procurement, eGovernment and Circular Economy said: “National Food Waste Recycling Week is a wonderful opportunity to create awareness of how important it is that we recycle our food waste, so that it can be put to further crucial use as fuel and bio-fertiliser for example.

Food waste is a significant contributor to carbon emissions, adding to climate change. The best way to address this is to try to cut down on food waste in the first place. But it is inevitable that there will almost always be food matter left over in homes and businesses so recycling it means that it does not just go to landfills, it becomes a useful resource instead, contributing positively to the growth of Ireland’s bio-economy.”

The campaign is based on research into why there may be some barriers to recycling food waste and will provide useful tips and advice on how people can start to recycle more of their food waste, thereby increasing understanding and awareness of the role that people can play in Ireland’s broader circular and green economy. It is being managed by Ireland’s three regional waste management planning offices*. The campaign is funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.

Throughout the week, events will be held nationwide, supported by local authorities, the Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland (Cré) and the Irish Waste Management Association (IWMA).  One of the highlight events will be an exhibition at this year’s Bloom Festival, which takes place over the extended June Bank Holiday weekend.

The National Food Waste Recycling Week Exhibition tent hosted by My Waste.ie will give people the chance to see first-hand how food waste recycling works, with a number of interactive exhibits. Experts will be on hand to demonstrate how easily food can be recycled and to answer questions people might have.  Special guests include: Anja Murray, ecologist and presenter of RTE’s Eco Eye; Marie Staunton, Gardener and Conor Spacey, Culinary Director @FoodSpace who is also involved in the Chefs Manifesto working towards Strategic Development Goal 2 (Sustainable Solutions to End Hunger) with the UN and World Food Programme.

Pauline McDonogh, Waste Prevention Coordinator, Southern Waste Region said: “We would like to thank the people that are currently recycling their food waste. We hope this new national campaign will encourage more people to recycle food waste. “We have undertaken research into the barriers against food waste recycling and these learnings have underpinned this campaign. By providing practical tools and understanding we want to show people what can be put into their food waste recycling bin, the importance of separating waste food from its packaging, and the reasons why doing so is good for the Irish environment.” she continued.

People are encouraged to check locally for information on one of the many events happenings nationwide and receive one of 15,000 food waste caddies, each with a starter pack of caddy liners and an information leaflet which are being distributed throughout the week-long campaign.

Martin Eves resigns as Chairman & Cré Board elects Tony Breton as new Chairman

17.12.2021
Martin Eves Resigns as Chairman & Cré Board elects Tony Breton as new Chairman

After 12 years of dedicated service, Martin Eves steps down as Chairman whilst remaining on the Board.
 
Today (16/12/21) the Board of Directors of Cré – the Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland, announced the appointment of Tony Breton as its new chairman. Tony joined the Board in 2017 and replaces Martin Eves who has served as Chairman since 2009 and is remaining on the Board.
 
“It has been a great honour to have served as Chairman of the Cré Board of Directors,” said Martin. “I am incredibly proud of our accomplishments over the past 12 years. We have helped drive the increasingly widespread separate collection of food wastes from households and businesses across Ireland. As a Board and as an Association, we have overcome many challenges in our goal to deliver a policy environment where our members can flourish. I would like to personally thank our CEO Percy Foster for all his support and call on all our members to continue to engage and support the Association as it moves into a new era. I am confident in our future and in Tony’s leadership as we continue to grow and deliver our mission for our members.”
 
Tony, a Chartered Resource Manager, has been actively involved in the organics recycling industry since 2000 when he joined the UK Composting Association to undertake a market development project and he rapidly progressed to become its Communications Manager in 2002. Since leaving the Association in 2005, his focus has been on driving systemic change in the delivery of high performing organic waste systems and working with the global leader in the bioeconomy, Novamont. He is also a Director of the UK based Bio-based and Biodegradable Industries Association and a member of the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology’s Organics Steering Group (the UK equivalent to Cré).
 
“I am deeply honoured to have been appointed as the Chairman of the Board of Cré,” said Breton. “Cré is a unique organisation which has consistently delivered well beyond its means and Martin has left me big boots to fill. I look forward working closely with all our members and stakeholder partners to further our industry and the wider bioeconomy in Ireland. I also look forward to working closely with Percy our dedicated and passionate Chief Executive, as well as our experienced and dedicated Board of Directors.”
 
“I’m beyond grateful to Martin for his vision, dedication, passion and friendship over the past 12 years which have helped pushed Cré to being the leading and most respected voice for our sector in Ireland” said Percy Foster, Chief Executive. “Equally, I am excited for the future under Tony’s leadership. Tony brings a wealth of experience in both the organics industry and in association management which I am sure will be critical as Cré continues to support our members as they strive to deliver healthy soils and peat replacements for Ireland.”
 
ENDS

Contact:
Percy Foster, CEO
Cré – Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland
T: 0868129260   E: percy@cre.ie

Ireland has potential to avoid emissions from 44,000 cars by using compost to store carbon in soils

Press Release (15.12.2021)

Ireland has potential to avoid emissions from 44,000 cars by using compost to store carbon in soils

Today, Cré launches a report on the contribution of compost to soil carbon sequestration. Cré believes that soil carbon sequestration is one of the critical paths to achieve net-zero emission.

The Cré report is timely as the European Commission is expected to publish a policy document on its carbon farming initiative today, which aiming to increase carbon sequestration and boost the income of farmers, along with providing an environmental benefit.

Furthermore, based on the current scientific evidence, Cré believes that compost plays a leading role in optimising soil carbon sequestration and improving soil health. Research has demonstrated that 60–150 kg of CO2 equivalent is sequestered in the soil for every tonne of compost applied.

By organically recycling the hundreds of thousands of tonnes food and garden waste generated by households and businesses every years in Ireland to produce high quality compost the resulting benefits for carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions savings are to equivalent to taking 44,000 cars off the road every year.

Julian Beatty, Cré Carbon Task Group Leader, said: “As a nation built on agriculture, we recognise the importance of soil health. There is a presumption our soils are healthy, but unfortunately, not just in Ireland but globally, soils are being depleted at a frightening rate, and we must act now. By recycling all our organic waste back to soil in the form of high-quality compost, we will not only improve soil health but, as this report shows, will sequester carbon, so essential for our climate goals. I want to thank everyone who helped put this report together and urge policymakers and stakeholders to read it and engage with Cré on its call to action.”

Within the report, Cré outlines a number of recommendations to maximise the potential of organic recycling of food and garden waste in the context of carbon sequestration and soil health

CRÉ’S CALL TO ACTION:

  • In line with scientific evidence, Cré is recommending valorising the role of compost in soil carbon sequestration.
  • The Government should incentivise agriculture (livestock, tillage and horticulture) to improve soil carbon sequestration and farmers to trade carbon credits.
  • There is a need to incentivise an increase in the quality and quantity of biowaste collected and processed to increase the supply of good quality compost available to the market.
  • There are currently no comprehensive field trials in Ireland using organic ameliorant (e.g. composted green/ biowaste) that examine carbon sequestration in soil. Fields trials should be established
  • Cré supports any action that recognises the value of carbon sequestration in mitigating climate change and progress to net zero.

The report was prepared by the Cré Carbon Task Group: Dr Brian Murphy (Enrich), Percy Foster (Cré), Karen Mahon (OCAE) and Julian Beatty (Nova-Q).

ENDS

Executive Summary

Main Report

Contact:

Percy Foster, CEO

Cré – Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland

T: 0868129260

E: percy@cre.ie

Cre Online Festival 2021

Cré Online Festival 2021

21, 22 & 23  September

 | 3-5pm Each Day

The Future is Now

see www.creconference.ie

This year the annual Cré Conference (21st, 22nd, 23rd September) will again be hosted as an online event of 2-hour sessions each day. Enabling you the flexibility to pick the sessions that interest you most. 

We welcome members of the Compost Council of Canada who will be with us throughout. Join us as we listen to esteemed local and international speakers discussing topical issues and sharing their insights.  Virtual tours are included for what is promising to be a very interesting conference. 

Sessions are recorded and will be available afterwards for replay to all who register for the event. 

Development of Quality Standards for Compost and Digestate in Ireland

Development of Quality  Standards for Compost and Digestate in Ireland

The EPA has published the Research 375: Development of Quality Standards for Compost and Digestate in Ireland. In Ireland, there are no national end-of-waste criteria for compost and digestate derived from source-separated materials. This study developed a quality standard for digestate and an updated standard for compost, it also recommends a strategy on how Ireland should implement national end-of-waste criteria for compost and digestate. It also examined best practice in other countries and options for having end-of-waste criteria.

Project Highlights: Watch the project highlights video 

Policy_Brief

Infographic

Research_Report_375

On behalf of the research team, I would like to thank the valuable input from members of the project steering committee, namely Caroline Murphy (EPA), Vivienne Ahern (Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications), Professor James Clark (University of York), Patrick Barrett (Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine) and John Clarke (Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine); as well as Karen Roche (Project Manager on behalf of the EPA).

Link to the Report: http://www.epa.ie/researchandeducation/research/researchpublications/eparesearch2030reports/research375.html

Authors: Percy Foster and Munoo Prasad

EPA-funded research generates a scientific base to support environmental protection.  Projects are carefully targeted to deliver on three key areas: Identifying pressures; Informing policy; and Developing solutions

Identify Pressures

In Ireland, there are no national end-of-waste criteria for compost and digestate derived from source-separated materials. There are varying quality standards being used by composting and anaerobic digestion plants. Overall, the system needs a uniform set of quality standards for compost and digestate, which would replace existing standards being applied. This study will also recommend a strategy on how Ireland should implement national end-of-waste criteria for compost and digestate.

Inform Policy

Recent European Union (EU) circular economy and bioeconomy policies and the New European Green Deal promote the recycling of nutrients from organic wastes into products that can be used as soil improvers and fertilisers, thereby reducing the use of mineral fertilisers. This has renewed interest in the use of compost and digestate as potential fertilisers. This study developed a quality standard for digestate and an updated standard for compost. It also examined best practice in other countries and options for having end-of-waste criteria.

Develop Solutions

The research developed should be used by the National Standard Authority of Ireland to update Irish Standard (IS 441) on compost and develop a new IS standard for digestate. The findings of this study can be used in an application to the Environmental Protection Agency by industry for national end-of-waste standards for compost and digestate. The possible approach that could be taken in Ireland to define end-of-waste criteria is by implementing either biowaste ordinance legislation or a national fertiliser regulation. It should include the requirement that compost or anaerobic digestion plants proposing to produce an end-of-waste product be compliant with a Quality Assurance Scheme that is monitored by a quality assurance organisation. By achieving end-of-waste status, it generates a level playing field. It also supports the development of a circular economy while still respecting the precautionary principle by avoiding pollution when compost and digestate are used on soil.

This project was funded under the EPA Research Programme 2014-2020. The EPA Research Programme is a Government of Ireland initiative funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. It is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has a statutory function of coordinating and promoting environmental research.

The twitter account for the project is- https://twitter.com/Cre_CompDig

ENDS

Further Information contact:

Percy Foster, percy@cre.ie. T: 086- 8129260

“DISCLAIMER: Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the material contained in this press release, complete accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Neither the Environmental Protection Agency nor the authors accept any responsibility whatsoever for loss or damage occasioned or claimed to have been occasioned, in part or in full, as a consequence of any person acting or refraining from acting, as a result of a matter contained in this press release.”

Notes to Editor:

“EPA Research Programme 2014–2020 The EPA’s current Research Programme 2014–2020 is built around three pillars – Sustainability, Climate and Water. More information about the EPA Research Programme can be found by visiting the EPA website where you can subscribe to the Research Newsletter. This provides news and updates about research calls, events and publications that are of relevance to researchers and other interested parties. You can also follow EPA Research on Twitter @EPAResearchNews for the information and developments about the Research Programme and its projects.”

Happy Christmas

Public Consultation on Research Project: To Develop National End of Waste Standards for Quality Compost and Digestate

Cré is seeking views on the Research Project ‘To Develop National End of Waste Standards for Quality Compost and Digestate’

In Ireland, there are no national End-of-Waste Criteria for quality compost and digestate derived from source-separated materials. In EPA licences for composting and anaerobic digestion (AD) plants, there is a quality standard as part of the licences, however in old licences the parameters and limit values vary considerably and in the recent licences the parameters and limit values have been adopted from the national compost standard I.S. 441 for compost but also for AD plants.
 
This project has examined best European practices as well as quality standards in Canada, America and Australia; and proposes an approach for End-of-Waste Criteria for compost and digestate in Ireland. In addition, the project has developed a quality standard for digestate and an updated compost standard, which are used as part of the End-of-Waste Criteria.
 
The project findings will inform the approach that should be taken to develop national End-of-Waste Criteria for compost and digestate in Ireland.
 
All submissions are welcome and will be considered in the finialisation of the report.
 
Confidential or commercially sensitive information should be clearly identified in your submission. By responding to the consultation, respondents consent to their name being shared with the steering committee.

Submissions must be made using this  template to the following email address: info@cre.ie

No other format will be accepted, this is to ensure we capture all the comments and to be able to consider them all in the context which they are submitted.

The consultation document can be downloaded here

The closing date for submissions is 5pm, Friday 12th, June, 2020.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This is a consultation document on the research report funded by the EPA Research Programme 2014–2020. The programme is financed by the Irish Government. It is administered on behalf of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment by the EPA, which has the statutory function of co-ordinating and promoting environmental research.

COVID Video

Cré has produced a short video on covid for its members.

https://youtu.be/MLNsbtv7tjk

Covid 19

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