Producer Responsibility Initiative
The Waste Management Act, 1996, imposes an overarching obligation on agriculture, commercial and industrial activities to prevent or minimise the production of waste, and provides considerable regulatory power in support of this objection.
In particular, a wide range of producer responsibility obligations may be imposed in respect of individual waste streams. As an alternative to the imposition of statutory controls and obligations, the Government's preferred approach is, in the first instance, to affort a relevant business sector an opportunity to formulate and implement proposals for and appropriate voluntary producer responsibility initiative. This approach is intended to facilitate the business sector concerned, by enabling it to bring its expertise to bear to devise workable and least-cost arrangements that are sensitive to both commercial and environmental requirements.
In the absence of a satisfactory business-led initiative, it would then be open to the Minister to introduce mandatory producer responsibility obligations under the 1996 Act, and/or other alternative measures. Legal obligations can also be introduced in support of voluntary producer responsibility initiatives by business. Significant producer responsibility obligations have been introduced in relation to packaging waste, end-of-life vehicles (ELV's), farm plastic waste and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in support of industry-led initiatives.