Why have we written to Minister Ryan?

In the wake of the ongoing revision of the EU Waste Shipment Regulation, environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are collectively appealing to Ireland's Environmental Minister, Eamon Ryan, to reassess the nation's stance on the proposed EU plastic waste export ban. The EU's initiative aims to address the environmental and health risks associated with plastic waste exports, particularly to non-OECD and OECD countries.

As one of the largest EU plastic waste exporters to the United Kingdom, Ireland's position is crucial in shaping the future of responsible waste management.

Ireland's Current Position:

Ireland, a significant contributor to plastic packaging waste in the EU, has expressed opposition to a comprehensive ban on plastic waste exports, particularly to OECD countries outside of the EU. Citing limited domestic recycling capacity, the Irish government insists on continuing to export plastic waste to the UK. However, environmental advocates argue that both legal and illegal EU plastic waste exports are causing irreparable harm to the environment and human health.

NGO Appeal:

NGOs, including VOICE Ireland, have sent a letter to Minister Eamon Ryan, highlighting key concerns and urging the Irish government to support a complete ban on plastic waste exports. The appeal emphasizes several critical points:

  1. Global Impact of Plastic Waste Exports: Ireland's plastic waste exports, primarily destined for the UK, inadvertently impact non-OECD countries and Türkiye. With the UK increasing its plastic waste exports to the EU, the ripple effect exacerbates the environmental challenges faced by nations outside the OECD.
  2. Urgency for Restricting Exports to the UK: The UK, a major recipient of Ireland's plastic waste, is also seeking to ban plastic waste exports. The need for this restriction is underscored by insufficient domestic recycling capacity in the UK, as outlined by various authoritative voices, including Sir James Bevan, the EFRA Committee, and an independent review of Net-Zero.
  3. Harms to OECD Countries: Plastic waste mismanagement in Türkiye, the largest OECD recipient of EU plastic waste, poses a significant threat to both the environment and human health. Current import restrictions in Türkiye alone are insufficient, and other OECD countries are at risk of misdeclaration, concealment, and transshipment via other OECD nations.
  4. Economic and Practical Shifts: The revised Waste Shipment Regulation is expected to incentivize waste shipments within the EU, making intra-EU waste management more practical and economical than exporting plastic waste outside of the Union.

Our Call to Action:

Tad Kirakowski, CEO of VOICE Ireland, emphasizes the need for responsible waste management, stating, "Ireland's plastic waste per capita is increasing. Our first step is prevention, but there is an onus on us to ensure that our waste is being managed in a responsible way." Lauren Weir, Senior Campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency, echoes this sentiment, urging Ireland to join the growing consensus in banning all EU plastic waste exports to safeguard global communities from further harm.


As Ireland stands at a crossroads in waste management policy, the call for responsible and sustainable practices becomes more urgent. The appeal from NGOs, including VOICE Ireland, underscores the importance of supporting the EU's proposed ban on plastic waste exports, signaling Ireland's commitment to environmental stewardship and global well-being.

Take Action:

Email Minister Ryan and tell him to reassess the nation's stance on the proposed EU plastic waste export ban.

Here is Minister Ryan's email address eamon.ryan@oireachtas.ie