Hearing highlights success of Cork recycling

 

THE SUCCESS of Cork City Council’s recycling programme was highlighted yesterday at an oral hearing on a proposed incinerator to be located at Ringaskiddy in Cork.

Levels of waste generated in the region have risen by just 1 per cent in the past six years, up from 115,000 tonnes since 2003, the hearing was told.

Entering its third week, the An Bord Pleanála hearing heard that the focus for waste-management in the Cork region – which takes in Cork city and county – was primarily waste-reduction methods such as recycling and composting.

At present 417,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste are produced in the Cork region every year, approximately half of which is recycled.

While Cork city and county councils collect 30 per cent of this waste, the bulk of the remainder is dealt with by private contractors, who could opt to utilise the services of the proposed incinerator.

In response to questioning, Cork City Council senior engineer Michael O’Brien said: “We can’t control what a private operator does.”

The hearing was told yesterday that once the city’s largest dump, the Kinsale Road landfill, closes this summer, the Cork region will be reliant on landfill sites in Cork county, primarily a landfill site located in Youghal, to deal with its landfill waste.

The council will begin disposing of waste at a new landfill facility at Bottlehill, 13 miles north of Cork city, when that facility opens in January 2010. This landfill will only accept pre-treated and baled waste, though no baling facility exists at present.

Mr O’Brien conceded that no site had been agreed for a baling facility, but council sources indicated that such a facility could be put in place in just 14 weeks.

Private operators deal with 52 per cent of domestic waste generated by the Cork region, and Cork City Council has advertised seeking private operators to deal with that waste during the latter part of 2009 and into the future, according to Mr O’Brien.

Cork city and county council’s long-term plan for waste management was focused on education, recycling and waste reduction at source, Mr O’Brien said.

“We must concentrate on the reduction of waste at source.”

The managing director of Indaver for the UK and Ireland, John Ahern, said Cork City Council would need to reach a recycling rate of 70 per cent in order to deal with its waste-management responsibilities into the future, where current recycling rates stand at 50 per cent.