The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government in Ireland has published its final report on the “rx3 – Rethink Recycle Remake” market development programme, which was created to assist the drive for recycling for paper, plastics and organics across the country.
Managed by RPS consultants over the past six years, the main focus of rx3 was on closing the material loop, through the development of markets for reusable, remanufactured and recyclable materials. The department’s report concluded that the project has been “of key strategic importance to the greening of the Irish economy and to the development of green enterprises in Ireland”.
It stated that rx3 had proactively contributed to addressing key strategic areas including: environmental innovation, low carbon economy, green enterprise and the green economy.
It added that rx3’s interventions had been “wide ranging and impactful”, saying that despite the economic crisis that overlapped with the programme, it had contributed to economic recovery, value creation (including intellectual property), job creation and to an increase in municipal material recycling rates (to 35% in 2012). Municipal composting and anaerobic digestion rates also increased during the time of the programme.
RPS explained that the closed loop recycling project correctly anticipated the new ‘circular economy’ policy by the EU Commission favouring eco-innovation, economic development and job creation, and that three types of actions have been completed by rx3, with advisory reports and summary outcomes available online: technical – regarding the development of materials standards and systems of quality control; communications – overcoming barriers due to a lack of awareness and understanding of the possible benefits of recycled materials and their availability; and economic incentives – supporting innovation and jobs, product development and cross-sectoral initiatives between those managing the waste and those creating new products
One of the beneficiaries of the market development programme was new start-up company Obeo who now make and sell compostable food waste boxes which are available in major retail outlets nationwide and online.
”We couldn’t have set up Obeo as a start-up out of NCAD without the guidance and support of rx3 who were of tremendous assistance” stated Kate Cronin, Obeo Founder.
“This project represented a fundamental mind shift from the old ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ tag line to a more holistic approach ‘Rethink Recycle Remake’ emphasising the role of eco design thinking aimed at waste prevention and the need to close the manufacturing loop by reusing and recycling materials as far as possible” said PJ Rudden, RPS Director. “If you can’t recycle it, then you should not make it. Also central to the circular economy is the necessary recycling and recovery of waste to practically eliminate landfill” he concluded.