08 Jul

Scarcity of Resources highlighted in EEF report as sustainability threat.

EEFReportOver recent years, manufacturers throughout Europe have highlighted that high and volatile material and resources prices and security of supply pose a threat to growth.

In this latest report from the UK’s  manufacturers’ organisation , the EEF, it claims that the  UK  , and that implied Ireland and Europe by extension , is very exposed to critical disturbances in Resources and raw materials availability. This will have an adverse impact on manufacturing.

Why has this happened ?

Well, the global growth of middle-class consumers along with the global increased demand for all commodities  and a western lifestyle drive prices up and deplete resources at a faster rate. We are over-reliant on China for strategic supplies  and this leaves the Ireland, UK and Europe very ‘vulnerable’.

This thorough report  is filled with many examples of action by governments elsewhere. The EEF sets out key trends that will shape material supply over the next twenty years, explores how China, Germany, US, Japan and South Korea are responding and considers how this can inform our strategy to improve resilience to future material supply risk.

Recommendations we can embrace.

In its recommendations we fully endorse the idea that ‘ re-manufacturing should not be descriminated against’ .  We also  agree that ‘For too long we have paid lip service to treating waste as a resource’ and we still fail to realise the full economic potential from using ‘waste’.

As we approach the end of an economic era,  and slide into the circular economy we simply cannot afford to be left under-prepared and overexposed to disruption in resource and materials supply. Action is needed now and the report outlines many actionable items that policy makers would do well to initiate.

The writing is clearly on the wall as one salient fact makes clear. In 2010, the EU deemed 14 materials to have supply risks. This has now increased to 20.

Read the full report here.

04 Jul

Information freedom – Zero Cost Freedom of Information requests

what price for Information

We’re great fans of the words ‘FREE’ and ‘ZERO’ here at the Zero Waste Alliance. We believe public information access should have  ZERO cost where it relates to public interest items. So we are cautiously welcoming the  Irish Government’s announcement that non-personal FOI (Freedom of Information) fees of €15 are to be scrapped.

FoIPrice

What price for Freedom of information?

 The Freedom of Information system , far from being a burden on public services should be seen as a key watchdog tool for the  concerned public- those citizens with concern for the highest standards in high places, and that should be us all. We pay for it in the end of the day through taxes and the myriad of levies. There are many examples where this has served us well and we just need to recall the recent revelations around Tuam child/infant deaths.  Catherine Corless, a tireless researcher used  the Freedom of Information requests to dig into the records and reveal the story in it’s gory details.  

There are many information items to be looked into regarding the granting of Planning Permissions to Waste Incinerators in Ireland, especially where An Bord Pleanala Inspector’s reports are overturned and we expect to explore these issues with the new lower cost basis of information retrieval.

 The model being proposed by the Open Government Partnership must succeed if we are to benefit as a society and expose corruption or negligence within state bodies and elsewhere.

But we should not have to request much of the Information that affects us all, e.g Aarhus protocol related environmental information. If the government and civil service simply engage openly with the public and publish public interest material in a timely manner then the FOI system will become irrelevant.

This will save the state huge amounts of time and money and also for it’s Citizens. We will have a more open and higher quality public sector which will blow away the cobwebs and breathe new life into the government -citizen relationship.