Ireland needs to start designing "a completely different economy" Eamonn Ryan, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications said on Friday, in an effort to make it a sustainable one.
Mr Ryan was speaking at the launch of Circuléire, a new Government and private sector initiative aimed at delivering significant reductions in both CO2
emissions and waste by promoting circular business models.
“We have to start designing , reduce waste and emissions by design, by thinking of the entire system change that is needed to make it happen,” he said.
Mr Ryan said that the new method of a circular economy “moves us beyond managing waste, makes us reconsider product design, reduce waste generation and extend the productive life of goods and products”, citing a goal of ensuring that all packaging is recyclable by 2030.
Circuléire is the first cross-sectoral industry-led innovation network dedicated to accelerating the net-zero carbon circular economy in Ireland. It is a € 4.5 million public-private partnership, co-created by Irish Manufacturing Research (Secretariat), and three strategic partners, the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and EIT Climate-KIC, as well as 25 founding industry members including Pfizer, Dawn Meats and Wyeth.
Its objective between 2020-2022 is to source, test, finance, and scale, circular manufacturing systems, supply chains and circular business models to deliver significant reductions in both CO2 emissions and waste.
Also speaking at the event, Enterprise Ireland chief executive Julie Sinnamon said that the initiative is "important", as it will give the founding members a "first mover advantage" or " circular advantage", from understanding in a very scientific way "how they can reduce waste and emissions through innovation all the while evolving their business model to continue to be profitable in the future".
David McCormack, director of sustainable manufacturing at the IMR said that Ireland’s material use rate is 1.6 per cent circular, “which is a long way off the EU average of 11.7 per cent”.
Dr Geraldine Brennan, senior circular economy programme manager with Irish Manufacturing Research, noted the benefits of a circular economy approach to Ireland included macro economic growth activities, job creation and retention, as well as environmental opportunities.