Irish business leaders view sustainability as ‘nice-to-have’ rather than critical to success

 

Sustainability is viewed by the majority of Irish business leaders as a growing priority for an expanding enterprise – yet less than half are actively adopting environmentally-friendly approaches.According to new research, commissioned by Ricoh Europe, of 2,550 business leaders across 24 countries, Irish respondents actually rank lower than their European peers.Just 45pc – based on responses from 100 business leaders here – see EU and global environmental regulations as an enabler of success, compared to the European average of 56pc.

Furthermore, despite 59pc of Irish respondents believing that sustainability will become an increasingly important factor for the firm’s success going forward, almost the same amount (60pc) stated it was nice-to-have rather than critical.

The survey revealed that businesses in Turkey, Spain, Italy and Switzerland scored highest in terms of achieving success from being more focused on the environment.

Ricoh Ireland MD Gary Hopwood said that it very disappointing that Irish business leaders are not focusing on more sustainable business strategies and processes.

“Not only is it detrimental to the planet, but it is also naïve considering that care for the environment is now increasingly important for prospective customers and employees. It can be the deciding factor for people when choosing a provider to partner with or a company to work for,” he said.

“As well as potentially jeopardising company growth, regulations have also been introduced to ensure that organisations are prioritising sustainability and lowering their carbon footprint.

“By not doing so, Irish business leaders are impacting on Ireland’s ability to adhere to requirements, such as those set out by the Paris Agreement, and companies will increasingly be penalised for not complying with environmental law.”

The benefits of company culture on the organisation is also a bit of a blind spot for Irish business leaders, as just 57pc of respondents, lower than the European average, saw this as an enabler of success.

However, in terms of recognising the power of technology in improving productivity, 53pc of those surveyed view it as a key factor, similar to other European business leaders.

Still, half (51pc) admitted the technology being used is acting as a barrier to achieving full potential within the firm and 60pc believed more advanced equipment or systems would help improve operations.

“Irish business leaders are neglecting a number of key factors that drive business growth and success,” said Mr Hopwood.

“Company culture and environmentally-friendly processes have become as important as the skills of employees and technologies in the workplace.

“The mentality towards change is also an issue and, when coupled with concerns around technology, has the potential to cause serious problems in years to come – that is if organisations survive.”

Source – The Irish Independent

 

 

 

Hilton Challenges Its Hospitality Teams to Step Up Soap Recycling

GHP Comment:  GHP is the Irish Clean the World Partner – contact us to make sure your waste soaps and bathroom toiletries don’t go to landfill – but for a great cause.

Hilton is ramping up its soap-collecting efforts around the world, with a goal of recycling 1 million bars for Clean the World to distribute on Global Handwashing Day (October 15).

Travelers — did you ever wonder what happens to those barely used hotel soap bars? The good news is that they don’t need to be thrown away. An NGO called Clean the World has been partnering with hotel chains around the world — including CaesarsHilton and Marriott — and airlines including United to collect them, turn them into brand-new bars of soap and distribute them to people in need. Hilton was its first partner, and over the last 10 years they have worked to collect more than 7 million bars of soap and turned them into new ones, which are helping reduce hygiene-related illnesses for people in need around the world.

Hilton is now stepping it up a notch and challenging its Hilton Garden InnHampton by HiltonEmbassy SuitesHomewood Suites and Home2 Suites teams to recycle 1 million bars of soap this year — the goal is for Clean the World to distribute the new bars on Global Handwashing Day(October 15). Hilton formally launches the challenge today, for Global Recycling Day, and will announce the initiative on Wednesday at the Hunter Hotel Conference.

We caught up with Bill Duncan, Global Head of Hilton’s All Suites and Focused Service brands; and Shawn Seipler, founder, Chairman and CEO of the Clean the World Foundation, to learn more about this initiative and its impacts.

How did Clean the World come about? How does soap recycling work?

Shawn Seipler: As a frequent business traveler, I started to wonder what happened to partially used soap and toiletries in hotels. Learning most of it was discarded was an “a-ha” moment.

From this realization, Clean the World was born with a mission to both save lives and protect the environment by providing recycled soap and other hygienic products to families in need. Over the last decade, we have led a global hygiene revolution, which has resulted in a 60 percent reduction in the rate of children under the age of five dying due to hygiene-related illnesses. This effort has also diverted millions of tons of waste from landfills.

The soap is made from discarded bars collected from hotels around the world, which are then crushed, sanitized and cut into new soap. It is an environmentally and hygienically safe recycling process and ensures that all bars of soap recycled and distributed around the world are safe and will not harm the end user due to disease or pathogens that can be transmitted in the absence of proper re-purposing. The soap goes through a strict process where its surface is cleaned; and then the soap is sterilized, ground and pressed into brand-new bars.

After the soap has gone through this rigorous sterilization process, Clean the World’s foundation either distributes the soap bars to individuals in need or adds them to hygiene kits along with shampoo, a toothbrush and a towel as part of its WASH (water, sanitization and hygiene) education and emergency relief efforts.

How big of a program is this? Last year, Hilton volunteers packed 110,000 recycled soap hygiene kits. What do you anticipate this year?

SS: Since 2009, we have distributed more than 48 million bars of soap to over 127 countries. We currently work with 8,000 hospitality partners to recycle soap and bottled amenities discarded by hotel guests. The partnership with Hilton is particularly special because Hampton Inn Orlando-International Airport was the first hotel to collect soap for Clean the World. When the All Suites brands adopted soap recycling as a brand standard in 2016, Hilton became the first hotel company in the industry to make a commitment of this kind to our global hygiene revolution. They’ve now doubled down, making soap recycling a brand standard for Hampton by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn.

Bill Duncan: As Shawn mentioned, our brands certainly have an impactful partnership with Clean the World, and we have become leaders in the global hygiene revolution by educating and engaging our hotel teams and guests to eradicate preventable hygiene-related illnesses.

We’re proud of the impact Hilton has had to date through our soap recycling partnership with Clean the World, which includes diverting more than 2 million pounds of waste from landfills into recycled materials and contributing to the distribution of more than 7.6 million bars of recycled soap. We know there is more work to be done to eradicate hygiene-related illnesses and reduce waste.

Sadly, hygiene-related diseases (diarrheal and pneumonia) account for 1 in 4 child deaths worldwide and 2.3 billion people around the world still lack basic sanitation. This is why we are launching our Clean the World Challenge. We’re asking hotel owners and team members at Hampton by HiltonHilton Garden InnEmbassy Suites by HiltonHomewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton across the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic to collect bars of soap left behind by guests, to be recycled into 1 million bars of new soap by Global Handwashing Day on October 15.

How do you identify where there is a real need for this soap and get it there?

SS: Clean the World has soap-recycling centers in Orlando, Las VegasCanadaHong Kong, the Netherlands and Punta Cana [Dominican Republic]; and distributes recycled soap around the world in areas where there is a high risk of hygiene-related illness. This is done through NGO partnerships with organizations such as World VisionPartners in HealthHarvest Time InternationalChildren InternationalSamaritan’s Purse and Helping Hands for Relief and Development. In order to ensure that lasting health benefits and behavioral change in hygiene habits are truly achieved, we distribute primarily to partners who provide on-going, evidence-based educational programs focused on WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene). These partners must have the ability to track and share the outcomes of the provision of Clean the World soap in combination with the WASH educational programs they conduct. We also distribute hygiene kits domestically through emergency response and community engagement programming.

How did Hilton’s partnership with Clean the World come about?

BD: At Hilton, we are always looking for ways to have a positive impact in the communities where we serve millions of guests each year. The partnership with Clean the World was a natural fit for Hilton. Clean the World’s mission aligns with Hilton’s Travel with Purpose initiative, our corporate responsibility strategy. By 2030, we promise to cut our environmental footprint in halfto help protect the planet and double our social investment to drive positive change in communities. Hilton was the first hospitality brand to collect soap for the Clean the World Foundation. As part of our broader goals, Hilton has committed to send zero soap to landfills by 2030.

Serby Castro, a housekeeper at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Lake Buena Vista South in Orlando, took a personal interest in the Clean the World program, encouraging recycling at her hotel and even getting involved in an educational effort to increase engagement across the Hilton enterprise. Clean the World recently recognized Serby by renaming its soap recycling center in Punta Cana in her honor. This is just one of the many examples of our team members bringing Travel with Purpose and our 2030 goals to life at our properties around the world.

US Study find people want to travel more responsibly

TORONTO—More than 79 percent of American travelers hope to become more ethically-conscious in their future adventures, according to new research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Exodus Travels.

GHP Comment:  Tourism businesses that adopt a sustainable approach to their business win by lowering costs and win by  attracting and retaining customers

As a leading adventure tour operator that has been committed to low impact tourism and elevating local communities for the past 45 years, Exodus decided to dig into how much the average traveler values responsible tourism practices in today’s world, so they commissioned OnePoll to survey 2,000 Americans (who have been outside of North America and the Caribbean in last three years), to get to the heart of the matter.

“We really just wanted to know more about how Americans are traveling,” says Robin Brooks, Exodus Travels’ Marketing Manager. “Over the last few years, we’ve seen a lot of indications that responsible travel was becoming more important to our travelers, but this survey shows that it’s more than just a trend—people really care about the impact they’re making on the planet.”

The data indicated that ethical travel is indeed on the rise; 78 percent of respondents consider themselves more ethically-conscious than they were 10 years ago. And while more than 91 percent of travelers surveyed reported that “ethical” travel was important to them, 39 percent are still feeling “travel guilt” over their past experiences abroad, particularly if they consisted of unethical practices such as swimming with dolphins or posing for photographs with captive wildlife.

Most Travelers Concerned About Where Dollars Spent

Those surveyed reported that a combination of personal research, heightened concern for the environment, social media, news coverage and watching documentaries like Blackfish made them more conscientious about their behavior as travelers. As a result, 74 percent of respondents said they’re concerned about where their tourist dollars are being spent, and 67 percent of respondents have committed to spending an average of six hours researching locations, businesses and attractions before booking.

What’s more, the average respondent stated they’d now pay 33 percent more if it meant their trip was guaranteed to have ethical components, such as learning about the destination’s culture and language from a local host, buying souvenirs from local artisans, supporting female-run businesses and having responsible tourism and wildlife policies.

With so much to consider, travelers continue to turn to tour operators, in part due to their ability to initiate actions that reduce waste, bolster communities and stimulate economies in-destination on a large scale.

The Clout of Tour Operators

“Tour operators have incredible clout when it comes to influencing hotels, parks and attractions to be more ethically-conscious,” says Tom Harari, Senior Manager: Responsible Tourism, Product & Commercial for Exodus. “Because they consistently bring customers to their partners on the ground every year, they have the power and resources to encourage—and assist in—the development of more responsible practices, whether that’s using less plastic or hiring more women in management positions.”

In addition to caring more about how they travel and with whom, the survey showed that travelers also value gender equality while abroad. While 72 percent of respondents stated they’d be more likely to travel with a company that supported women’s rights, more than 77 percent felt that encouraging women to become tour leaders and guides—presently a male-dominated role—was instrumental to reducing gender inequality.

“Women already make up a huge portion of the tourism workforce—especially in developing countries, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be given the same career opportunities as men,” says Robin Brooks, Exodus Travels’ Marketing Manager. “The fact that travelers are seeking out businesses that actively work to help create leadership opportunities for women is not only heartening—it shows that the status quo in tourism is changing for the better.”

Irish shoppers more interested in sustainable packaging than global counterparts

Irish Times:  Peter Hamilton – 13 March 2019

GHP Observation:  Consumers are making sustainability choices – are tourism providers reacting to this by demonstrating and promoting their own sustainability actions – in general – NO. 

Irish consumers are more concerned about product packaging than their global counterparts, a survey from financial services firm PwC has found.

It said 52 per cent of shoppers in the Republic avoid the use of plastics while just 41 per cent of global shoppers show the same concern.

Similar to global trends, four out of 10 Irish consumers are happy to pay a premium for sustainably produced products, while 68 per cent are willing to pay a premium for locally produced food.

PwC’s survey was carried out in autumn and winter 2018 among 1,005 Irish online consumers and 21,480 consumers globally.

See more at www.irishtimes.com

Green Awards 2019 – Winners

Hotel Doolin wins Medium Sized Organisation of the Year again – well done guys

Croke Park won the Tourism and Entertainment Award

Full list of winners here

(We would urge all GHP Certified members to apply for one of these awards for 2020)

A number of other Tourism & Hospitality business were shortlisted;

– Brooklodge & Macreddin Village
– The Convention Centre, Dublin
– Burren Ecotourism Network
– Poppies Cafe
– Vagabond Tours
– Iveagh Garden Hotel
– Airfield Estate
– Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel
– Citywest Hotel

 

 

 

 

Ireland falls short in renewable energy use

More than 10% of Ireland’s total energy came from renewable sources in 2017

 

The Renewable Energy in Ireland 2019 report provides a detailed analysis of Ireland’s progress towards the 2020 renewable energy targets.“We need to accelerate the pace of change. Collectively and individually, we need to take greater advantage of the renewable resources available to us here in Ireland,” that is according to Jim Gannon, CEO of SEAI.

The report is clear that Ireland will not meet these renewables targets, despite a strong performance in renewable electricity. In 2017, 30% of electricity was generated from renewable sources, largely due to increased generation from wind, which accounted for 84% of all renewable electricity.

“While reducing the carbon intensity of electricity is critical to meeting Ireland’s climate change objectives, it is simply not enough on its own. We need to make progress in all areas of energy use and rapidly increase the adoption of renewables across heating and transport, if we are serious about reducing Ireland’s carbon emissions,” added Gannon.

“We are performing well in renewable electricity. The latest data shows that Ireland has the third highest share of wind-generated electricity out the 28 EU countries.

“There has been a large increase in the use renewable heat in the residential sector, due to the growing adoption of air-source heat-pumps. The adoption of district heating systems and sustainable bioenergy for direct use can also make strong contributions to reducing emissions from heating.  A transition to a largely electrified passenger fleet, along with the consideration of alternative fuels such as biogas and hydrogen for commercial, public transport and freight are necessary in decarbonising our transport system.”

“It is clear that we need to step up our ambition. The window for opportunity is closing and we must respond urgently. The all of government Climate Plan will be published shortly. This will show a range of actions across sectors of society with clear timelines. Our focus will be on implementation and lifting Ireland’s ambition,” Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

Ireland has committed to a target of 16% of total energy from renewable sources by 2020. The report shows that 10.6% of energy consumed in Ireland in 2017 came from renewables, with the remainder coming from carbon intensive fossil fuels.

Transport represents the single largest sector of energy use, but the lowest share of renewables. In 2017, 97% of transport energy was from oil-based products. The vast majority of renewable energy in transport came from bioenergy, with renewable electricity accounting for approximately just 1%. Urban rail services have traditionally been the biggest users of electricity for transport – however, the number of electric cars on the roads is increasing, albeit from a low base.

To coincide with the publication of the Renewable Energy in Ireland report, the SEAI has released the findings of research which examined the sustainability of using biomass fuels to produce renewable energy in Ireland. The research, which was commissioned by the SEAI and undertaken by Byrne Ó Cléirigh and Ecofys, found that Ireland is in a position to supply sustainable biomass to the energy sector, but only if suitable sources of biomass are used.

Biomass sources with low lifecycle emissions and sustainable land‐use management and governance, such as biogas from wet animal manure, biomass from Irish forest residues and by-products of the wood industry, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While biogas from grass silage produced under current cultivation practices, wood pellets imported from outside the EU and from Irish grown short rotation coppice willow all have greater potential for increased greenhouse gas emissions.

Commenting on the findings of the report Gannon said: “To be sustainable, bioenergy must reduce greenhouse gas emissions and there are actions that can improve the sustainability of bioenergy. For example, with regard to wood derived fuel, only those parts of a tree that are unsuitable for timber products should be used to generate energy.

“Using timber for building construction and to make everyday products locks the carbon away for many crucial decades and is by far the best use of this valuable resource. Policymakers must take care to ensure that changing the use of land to produce biomass fuel doesn’t have unintended negative consequences elsewhere.”

“The development of Irish sources of renewable energy, can create local jobs and encourage inward investment. Renewable energy is essential to support the transition to a sustainable economy – one that is not wedded to the use of imported fossil fuels,” concluded Gannon.

To view the Renewable Energy in Ireland 2019 report – Click Here

To view the Renewable Energy in Ireland 2019 infographic – Click Here

To view Sustainability Criteria Options and Impacts for Irish Bioenergy Resources – Click Here

 

The Green Hotel Revolution in the USA  

Dan Ruben

In 2005, I co-founded Boston Green Tourism, to help Boston hotels reduce energy and water use, enhance indoor air quality and improve waste management. I didn’t realize then that our job would become easier, because the hotel sector was on the cusp of a green revolution.

The scope of recently introduced, environmentally-smart innovation is astounding.

Here are some of the green products and practices that have emerged or flowered in the last 13 years. Which ones have your hotel incorporated?

Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Since 2005, LED lighting was introduced, and it now dominates the hotel lighting market.

Today’s building management systems and guestroom energy management systems would be unrecognizable in 2005. They now have highly advanced sensors and analytic capabilities that enable facility managers to control HVAC and lighting, and detect equipment problems. We’re still in an early stage of the smart building revolution.

Motors are much more energy efficient now, because of the widespread use of EC motors and variable speed drives. Heat transfer technology, like energy recovery ventilation, is deployed more often, too. So is combined heat and power (CHP) technology which sharply reduces the energy needed to provide space heat and hot water.

Almost all energy-consuming equipment is far more efficient than it was in 2005. Boilers, chillers, elevators and refrigerators are a few examples. Ventilation technology has greatly improved, saving energy and improving comfort. New ventilation controls promise much greater savings in the coming years.

Today, many hotels purchase electricity generated by wind turbines and solar panels. Others buy carbon offsets or encourage their guests to do so. More than a few hotels generate their own solar power.

Electric utility demand charges have become a prominent component of many hotel bills, prompting some properties to shave their electricity use during periods of peak demand. For example, hotels in several states charge powerful batteries when electricity is cheap and release the power from them when electricity use is peaking. This practice will soon be widespread.

Water Efficiency

Low flow water fixtures are now ubiquitous, thanks to improved technology and water conservation regulations.

New laundry equipment and dishwashers have dramatically cut hotel water use.

Modern dishwashers use only a fraction of the water and energy than their predecessors.

Liquid pool covers now reduce evaporation losses from swimming pools.

Waste Management

In 2005, high-end hotels shunned recycling bins, because they were unattractive. Today, elegant recycling bins are placed in the fanciest properties.

Refillable amenity dispensers are now attractive, too, and have gained a significant foothold. And, it’s now common to recycle or donate unused amenities.

The food waste reduction movement blossomed several years ago. Hotel chefs use new and effective techniques to identify food products that are over-purchased and under-consumed.

This year, citizen and government concern about single-use plastics has reached a tipping point. Hotel chains have responded with plans to reduce or eliminate them.

In recent years, five U.S. states and several big cities have enacted food waste recycling laws. Hotels comply with them by diverting their food waste to compost or anaerobic digestion facilities or by bio-digesting it.

This year, citizen and government concern about single-use plastics has reached a tipping point. Hotel chains have responded with plans to reduce or eliminate them.

Many hotels now have elaborate donation programs that provide furniture, clothing, linens and food to needy people.

Today, it’s more common for hotels to plan their renovations to assure that construction and demolition goods get reused or recycled.

Toxics Use Reduction

In 2005, the indoor hotel environment was less healthy than it is today. Now, green cleaning products and equipment are common. Hotels offer allergy-friendly rooms.

Integrated pest management practices have reduced pesticide use. Hotels can now control bed bugs with non-toxic methods.

Today, new furniture and other building products off-gas less than they did in 2005.

Products containing mercury, like old thermostats and fluorescent bulbs, are on the way out.

Transportation

Over 1 million electric vehicles have been sold in the United States, and hotels have installed charging stations to accommodate them.

Hotel guests have greater access to bicycles, thanks to bike-sharing and bike rental programs.

Food

In response to popular demand, hotels now offer more locally-grown and harvested food, and vegetarian and vegan dishes. Some hotel chefs put sustainable seafood on the menu, too.

In 2005, who predicted that hotels would house beehives?

Resilience

Stronger storms, sea level rise and extreme wildfires have increased property damage worldwide. There’s now a growing recognition that hotels must do more to protect their properties and help communities respond to weather emergencies.

Of course, the green hotel revolution won’t end in 2018. It will continue to be spurred by economics, advances in technology and the urgent need to address climate change. I have no doubt that we’ll soon see “net zero” hotels—properties that don’t use fossil fuel at all.

How will you participate in the green hotel revolution?

Dan Ruben is the Director of Boston Green Tourism. He has organized over 100 green hotel workshops in Boston and throughout the United States.

Worlds First Vegan Hotel Room

GHP Comment:  More and more hotels are recognising that the “One-fits-all” concept is not what modern guests want.  Hotels need to be flexible, innovative and listen to what guests want – deliver and succeed, fail to deliver and be in the also-ran category.   This Vegan room is but the tip of the iceberg – what about allergen free rooms? with the rising level of allergies worldwide, what about non-toxic rooms – low VOC and using smart, chemical free, cleaning products.  These customers are not wild and wacky and odd – they are your every day customer now – when will hotels really start engaging? 

Worlds First Vegan Hotel Room

It looks like your typical hip hotel room, with rich fabrics and finishes, Edison bulbs, and tropical prints. But unlike most hotel rooms, this suite at the Hilton London Bankside, created by experience design studio Bompas & Parr (B&P), is completely vegan, from the furnishings to the room service.

Now, eating vegan isn’t easy, but it’s only when you start to read labels that you really learn how difficult it can be. Take McDonald’s fries. They appear to be simple potatoes, but in reality, they are flavored with beef fat. (Delicious, delicious beef fat.) So to truly be vegan, you have to be constantly vigilant inside an industrial food complex that subsidizes animal products instead of veggies.

[Photo: courtesy Hilton Bankside]

Interior design isn’t much different in this regard. The furnishings industry is loaded with leathers, feathers, and wool–not to mention curveballs like latex paints and foams–and none of this could be used in the world’s first vegan hotel suite, which uses only sustainable, plant-based components.“The main challenge was searching for interesting materials that were not only vegan, but sustainable and environmentally friendly,” says studio cofounder Sam Bompas. “We focused on what is important to vegan culture, steering away from synthetic materials and focusing on botanical formed, future materials.” In other words, B&P couldn’t do what much of the fashion industry did years ago by embracing plastics instead: releasing pleather jackets and handbags and rebranding them“vegan leather.”

[Photo: courtesy Hilton Bankside]

What B&P discovered through its materials search, however, was “inspiring,” according to Bompas. Of course the designers used wood everywhere, from plank flooring to the desk, TV stand, bed frame, and headboard. They also realized that carpets could be cotton instead of more traditional wool. Pillows could be stuffed with buckwheat, millet hulls, kapok (a “silk” that comes from trees), or bamboo fibers. And furniture, such as stools, could be upholstered in Piñatex–what the team came to dub their “hero material”–a breathable, leathery material created from the pineapple leaf.From a design standpoint, B&P didn’t want to use Piñatex as a leather alternative–the textile equivalent to Beyond Meat–but to celebrate the product in its own right as a luxurious fabric that was proudly sourced from fruit. “We took inspiration from the geometry of the pineapple when designing the bespoke mirrors and magazine display,” Bompas says.

[Photo: courtesy Hilton Bankside]

Not everything worked out, though, even on the scale of a single, bespoke hotel room. “We were keen to use Soysilk, a silk-like fiber that is made from soybean residue. Rather than using valuable resources, it repurposed waste from the soybean,” says Bompas. “Though not a new material, there are limited suppliers, mostly concentrated in the U.S., and we were not able to secure any.”

Given that veganism is on the rise in food, it seems natural to assume that, with the proper awareness–and product options on the market–it could be on the rise in home furnishings, too. In fact, even though it’s far from the cheapest option, natural wood flooring still outsells vinyl and tile alternatives in housing. As far as I’m concerned, let’s bring on the pineapples next.

War Against Waste Heats Up – Government Review Commences

Minister Bruton Starts Single Use Plastic Bottle Review

Review into how best to achieve 90% collection target commissioned

Examination of Irish Deposit and Return Scheme included

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Minister Richard Bruton T.D. is today (Monday the 28th of January) announcing a review which will consider how we can deliver a 90% collection target for single use plastic bottles in Ireland. This review will also examine the possibility of introducing a Deposit and Return Scheme (DRS) and how this might operate in an Irish context.

Plastic waste makes a major contribution to the chronic problem of pollution, damaging our cities, countryside and oceans.

Minister Bruton is committed to significantly increasing our overall plastic recycling rate to 55% by 2030. For single use plastic drinks bottles, the government are committing to a collection rate of 90% by 2029.

The review will consider what is the best model to achieve this ambitious 90% target. The analysis will look at the current Irish waste collection system, international best practice in this area and how Ireland can bridge the gap from the targets already being achieved to the new, higher target. Once the review has been completed and an approach agreed,the Minister will announce the actions which need to be taken.

Launching the review, Minister Bruton said,

“On average, every person generates approximately 58kg of plastic waste per year. Plastic waste makes a major contribution to the chronic problem of pollution, damaging our cities, countryside and oceans.

“If we are serious about making Ireland a leader in responding to climate change, we must tackle our plastic waste. We must stretch ourselves and commit to more ambitious plastic collection targets, if we are to put ourselves on a more sustainable path.

“Today, I am am announcing a review to look at how we can achieve a 90% collection rate for single use plastic bottles. The introduction of a Deposit and Return Scheme, is one option the review will look at. I want to learn from international best practice in this area. Once the review has been completed, I will move quickly to set out the actions we must take in this area.”

Notes to Editor

The government have consistently exceeded the current EU plastic recycling target of 22.5%, with the most up to date figures showing that we recycled 36% of plastics in 2016.

Terms of Reference for Review

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment is commissioning an analysis report into how Ireland could achieve the proposed 90% collection target for beverage containers in Ireland, including the potential to implement a Deposit and Return Scheme (DRS) and how this might operate in an Irish context. This requires an understanding of the existing waste collection system in Ireland for beverage containers that could be included in a DRS, the identification of key stakeholders, and what model could work best in an Irish context.

A cost benefit analysis of implementing alternative, complementary collection models is required, and a clear understanding of how best to achieve a higher collection rate for beverage containers with consideration to any likely impact on the existing waste collection system. This can include any impact on existing kerbside collection and management of public authority waste infrastructure such as litter bins.

Existing Policy and regulatory framework:

It is important to recognise that the study which the Department is commissioning is in the context of:

i) The EU Circular Economy Action Plan which includes the Single Use Plastics (SUP) proposal currently under discussion at EU level. This is a high priority which is intended to be agreed within the next 6 months at EU level. This will potentially see a new collection rate of 90% for certain waste materials namely, beverage containers (including caps and lids) which are a primary target for improved collection rates under the SUP proposal; and

ii) The Circular Economy Legislative Package (CELP) which includes revisions to the Packaging Directive among other directives will see overall packaging recycling targets increase to 65% by 2025, with material specific targets for plastic and aluminium of 50% by 2025. These, in turn, will increase to 55% by 2030 for plastic and 60% by 2030 for aluminium. The CELP transposition date is July 2020. Any policy developments in relation to waste packaging will be within the legal context of the CELP and complementary to the SUP proposal.

​​

Format:

A desktop study of how Ireland can deliver on the new collection target proposed for beverage containers outlined above.

The Study should address the following:

1. ‘No change’ – identify what is currently being achieved in the existing collection system for beverage containers to inform the following; e.g. how could the higher targets be achieved by continuing with the existing kerbside collection system, extended producer responsibility (Repak) and self-compliers?

2. ‘Deposit and Return Scheme’ e.g. if a DRS is to be implemented what would the costs and benefits of this be?

size of containers to be included in the scheme
level of deposit to effect change
use of deposit or other means to incentivise behaviour change
public perception; will it be used, or will it be viewed as another tax
potential fraud risks and cross border issues
ownership model; financial or operational – by whom
financial requirements to maintain a scheme – source of income
best practices e.g. use Reverse Vending Machines (RVM) or alternatives?
If using RVMs then;

– how many per head of population

– location

– urban vs rural

– ownership of the RVMs

– collection / haulage

– processing after collection; do we expect indigenous capacity or will this material be exported?
impact on existing kerbside collection including the likelihood of increased costs for households
what recovery and recycling rates could be achieved
timeframes for implementation
requirement for legislation
enforcement bodies
3. Other identified model(s) that could be implemented, complementary to the existing kerbside collection. This should be confined to realistic, cost effective models that could include other extended producer responsibility initiatives.

The study deliverables should demonstrate/evaluate the following:-

​Taking account of the existing elements of the Irish system, and looking at what other EU member states are doing to deliver better outcomes, and the elements which give them the higher performance; provide analysis for how Ireland can reach a plastic bottle collecting rate of 90% by providing the following;

An understanding the current waste collection and recycling system in Ireland, including Extended Producer Responsibility initiatives (Repak, also self-compliers) and existing kerbside collection and management of local authority waste bin infrastructure, for beverage containers.
A snapshot of other EU member states DRS or other systems achieving higher value outcomes for beverage containers (based on existing studies and any emerging information)
What other collection systems are in place, what materials are targeted and what capture rates and recycling rates are these systems achieving
If DRS, was it implemented before kerbside collection for the same materials and what is the impact on the existing system
and identifying what the most effective existing models in other EU MS look like, cost and achieve
Identify alternative models in place
How is it implemented e.g. what model is in place
Is the system producer led and how was buy in from the stakeholder achieved
Are DRS systems as operated in other MS capturing better quality materials
Do DRS result in less litter and reduced litter management costs
Model – financial or operational, how are these implemented and managed
Best practice from the models used
Identify challenges around fraud, cross-border and non-compliance
Analysis for national context
How can Ireland best bridge the gap from current capture rates to future targets
What models could be implemented to achieve this
Operational or financial business model
Key stakeholders and ownership
Locations, required infrastructure and costs
Impact of implementing DRS (or any other identified model) on existing kerbside collection in Ireland
Could a DRS be introduced to complement the existing collection model and what would be the overall benefits in terms of increased capture and
Recycling rates of targeted materials in addition to showing what benefit, if any, it could bring to the overall plastic packaging recycling rates

Businesses placing increased focus (Failing) on monitoring energy usage

GHP Comment:  Break the figures down – 49% claim they are monitoring…80% say that this is done by looking at their bills (We all know they only look at the cost – not consumption) so that leaves 10% who are taking some further action such as metering.  10% – what other major business cost gets this little attention?  Business managers don’t know what to do and our government are removing the supports that could help them – look at the recent closure of GreenBusiness.ie

Businesses placing increased focus on monitoring energy usage

 

Research published last week by Pinergy, the smart energy provider, reveals how businesses are placing increased focus when it comes to monitoring their energy consumption and adjusting their usage to meet their budgets.While results from the latest Pinergy Business Energy Monitor indicate that 51% of businesses are not monitoring and adjusting their energy consumption, this represents a marginal decrease of 6% since the last survey was conducted six months ago. These findings are published following a year in which Irish electricity prices have increased in 2018.

Of the 49% who are monitoring their energy consumption, over four in five businesses cited that they check their bills every month as the most common monitoring method for energy consumption.This method is significantly higher than other potential means including the use of heating and lighting control devices (18%), smart energy plugs (18%) and smart meters (12%).

With energy expenditure set to increase further over the coming months, Pinergy is calling on businesses to maintain this focus and to take the opportunity to more effectively manage their energy costs in 2019.

Commenting on the Pinergy research, Enda Gunnell, CEO at Pinergy said: “Energy costs represent a significant annual expenditure for Irish businesses and these costs are set to rise even further unless businesses equip themselves with the latest tools to more easily support them in how they control and manage this vital utility.

“Our research highlights that businesses could be doing a lot more to effectively manage their costs. Most energy bills tell you what you have used in the past which doesn’t encourage you to make changes to your behaviour and are generally based on estimates.

“We welcome the indications from the second half of 2018 which saw more businesses intending to take action in 2019. Their plans include introducing LED lighting but we have seen significant improvements in businesses planning to install smart meters, as well as improvements on those planning to add Electric Vehicles to their fleet. Business intentions around micro generation technologies such as solar and wind are also really encouraging.”

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The comprehensive research based on a representative sample of 100 business decision makers across multiple industry sectors, was conducted by independent research specialist, RED C Research & Marketing.

The research indicates that just over nine in ten (93%) businesses have good intentions to change their behaviour and reduce energy costs within the next 12 months.This represents a slight increase of 3% on the research figures compiled earlier in 2018. Based on the research, 87% of respondents indicated that they intend to install LED lighting, with 68% stating that they are planning to actively monitor and reduce energy usage.

In terms of other activities to be considered to support businesses around their energy management needs, 26% indicated an intention to install a smart meter within the next 12 months, an increase of 12% compared to previous research conducted six months ago.

When it comes to attitudes around climate change, the Pinergy Business Energy Monitor indicates that over half of businesses (53%) are quite aware and very concerned about the impact of climate change.

Overall, the research highlights continued widespread consensus from Irish businesses in favour of more positive government action in order to address the challenges of climate change.In particular, the availability of grants to install energy efficient devices was supported by 98% of respondents to the survey with incentives to increase the use of renewable sources of energy receiving the backing of support from 95% of respondents.

Pinergy has welcomed the Government’s stated €22 billion investment commitment in tackling emissions reduction, but urgently calls on more actions to be taken and implemented if we are to achieve the 2020 and 2030 emission-reduction targets.

According to Pinergy’s Enda Gunnell: “This includes delivery of plans around carbon tax, the completion of a financial support scheme for renewable energy and trials of buses fuelled by non-fossil fuel sources including electricity.”

 

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