The Circular Economy Bill must trigger immediate action to create resilient communities, according to Fine Gael Parliamentary Party Chair, Richard Bruton.
Deputy Bruton said, “The response to the present global disruption of supply chains is to adopt a strategy for resilience immediately. Economic resilience can be steadily built by embedding the circular economy concept in our core sectors and our local communities. Never was this more needed than in the face of the global upheavals now evident.
“The Bill to be debated in the Dáil this week must open up a much wider and timely debate. We should not wait on the tortuous passage of legislation through the Oireachtas. Now is the time to act.
“The underlying principles are simple but are manifestly not being applied in Ireland today. We must urgently:
- Cut down waste
- Avoid short lived products
- Reuse valuable materials
- Build sustainable supply chains, lessening our dependence on fossil fuels
- Optimise utilisation of existing assets
- Redesign radically how we meet our needs for travel, heating and power
“In Ireland today, over 25% of food is wasted, 90% of private car journeys have one occupant, few smart controls or smart meters are in use, 75% of recycled materials are exported, solar panels are little used. In all these areas, there is low hanging fruit to improve our economic resilience quickly.
“Over the course of a three-year strategy, a great deal more could be achieved at little cost. We could radically extend vehicle sharing platforms; embed a culture of repair; provide ‘material passports’ so that recovered material could be used in high value activities instead of being dumped; deliver an effective strategy to bring a significant number of the 90,000 vacant homes into use; and open up public buildings to wide community use. This is just a start. None of this will happen without a decisive push from government.
“Strategies in key sectors: construction, food, equipment in all its many forms and fast fashion should be the top priorities. Work in the Fine Gael Policy Lab shows that enormous potential exists in these areas.
“Every town, village and suburb should be encouraged to become a ‘Sustainable Community’, where these and many other opportunities are being seized by the local community, and become a central element in a strategy of resilience and renewal in the face of global threats. The key will be to promote the innovation which people acting together can tap.”