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First Circular Economy Strategy will pave the way for higher ambition – Bruton

16th December 2021 - Richard Bruton TD

Today’s publication of the Circular Economy Strategy is an important first step in correcting Ireland’s poor record in removing the environmental damage which has become baked into the supply chain of our lives, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Deputy Richard Bruton said, “Ireland uses 60% more non-renewable materials than the rest of Europe and only recirculates 1.6% of these for beneficial reuse, making us the second worst in Europe for reusing materials. In materials usage, we are extracting more than twice what nature can absorb.

“Today’s strategy sets the ambition of matching our EU neighbours by the end of the decade. That would be substantial progress and is to be commended.

“What is missing today is any clear set of policy tools to achieve the shift. To be fair, we do now have real policies to halve our use of fossil fuels by 2030, but that is only one element of the challenge.

“The development of an integrated set of policies is now urgent: starting from initial design, better usage, less fast fashion and premature obsolescence, right through to repurposing at the end of life. The implementation of these policies should be entirely in lock-step with the Climate Action Plan, which is overseen from the Taoiseach’s office and places statutory obligations on each and every Minister to account for the responsibility of each sector.

“Minister Eamon Ryan recognises that the publication of the Circular Economy Strategy is just the start. I believe that when the Oireachtas strengthens the draft legislation which is to underpin this strategy, he will be in a much stronger position to develop meaningful policies with the urgency it deserves.

“The strategy needs to step out of the shadow of waste management, and recognise we are dealing with the reshaping of entire sectors in order to compete in the rapidly changing business environment of the Zero Carbon, Zero Pollution, Sustainable Supply Chain world which is fast approaching.

“The draft report which I have completed for the Climate Committee signposts the way forward. Fine Gael’s new Policy Lab shall be engaging in detailed sectoral workshops to help demonstrate how Ireland can reimagine our relationship with our planet in practical ways that benefit our entire community,” concluded Deputy Bruton.

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