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Government launches Ireland’s first Whole of Government Circular Economy Strategy

Government launches Ireland’s first Whole of Government Circular Economy Strategy

New Circular Economy Programme from the EPA, CIRCULÉIRE’s Strategic partner, was also published

Last Thursday, 16th December, the Minister of State with responsibility for the Circular Economy at the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, Ossian Smyth TD, has launched Ireland’s first Whole of Government Circular Economy Strategy

We all understand how saving energy and being energy efficient are critical for the climate. Now, we need to think this way about our material resources, like food, metals, plastic, concrete. A circular economy shows us how we can do this. This new strategy provides a really important policy signal across the public and private sectors that circularity belongs at the heart of sustainability“, said Minister Smyth. 

The strategy was the subject of public consultation early in 2021 – one of a series of consultations undertaken since early 2020 in this area. Public feedback was strongly supportive of moving towards a circular economy. 

The strategy will address a policy gap that exists in Ireland’s national policy framework. It sets out a vision for Ireland’s transition to circularity; explaining the concept of the circular economy, describing what initiatives are already happening, what opportunities are available and how Government will drive the changes required. 

The strategy will: 

  • Demonstrate public sector leadership, using policy tools such as green public procurement as well as supporting circular economy practices across the entire public sector 
  • Develop and implement an education and awareness campaign – for individuals, households, communities, and the public and private sectors
  • Identify priority sectors for the development of sectoral circular economy roadmaps 
  • Convene a consultative advisory group, from amongst stakeholders, to input into policy development and implementation 
  • Establish an interdepartmental working group to oversee the integration of circular economy policies and practices across public policy 
  • Subsequent iterations of the strategy will include more detailed measures and sectoral roadmaps for priority areas such as construction, consumer goods, transport, procurement, agriculture and food. Measures, including targets, for these sectors, will be developed in consultation with stakeholders across public and private sectors, as well as environmental, community and social enterprise representatives. 

New Circular Economy Programme from the EPA 

Also launched on the 16th December 2021, the EPA launched a new Circular Economy Programme from the EPA. The programme has been devised to support the Government’s circular economy policy agenda. It will incorporate the previous National Waste Prevention Programme will be the driving force for Ireland’s move to a circular economy by businesses, householders, and the public sector. 

The launch will set the scene for the next six years of our journey away from waste disposal and treatment to ensuring that the extraction and consumption of raw materials are reduced, and that waste is prevented and reduced at all stages of production. At the same time, this economic model will support the growth of our economy in a sustainable way. 

Circular Economy Bill 

The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications has also been progressing the development of a Circular Economy Bill. The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Climate Action began its pre-legislative scrutiny of the Bill in October this year – in which CIRCULÉIRE participated on 21st October. Last Thursday 16th December, the Committee published its report of that process. Following consideration of the recommendations of the Committee, the Minister intends to proceed with publication of the Bill early in the New Year. 


CIRCULÉIRE is a public-private partnership co-created by Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) and three strategic partners: the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and EIT Climate-KIC. Together with industry partners CIRCULÉIRE aims to assist manufacturers and their supply chains to switch from linear to circular business models.

Read more about CIRCULÉIRE here.

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