Enviromental Features

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Environmental Compliance in Irelands Print, Packaging and Labelling Sector    
Aquatic Toxicity Testing in Ireland - A review of 2011
Sustainable Practices in Irish Sheepmeat Processing    
 Environmental Compliance in Ireland’s Engineering Sector 
 Sustainable Practices in Irish Pig Processing
Benchmarking of sustainable practices in the food processing sectors 


Environmental Compliance in Irelands Print, Packaging and Labelling Sector.
Source: EnviroCentre.ie  [ Enterprise Ireland internal data and reviews]
Enterprise Ireland has a long established practice of conducting environmental reviews on client companies that are in receipt of grant support. These reviews are carried out on site at the facility and focus on six main areas: wastewater management, atmospheric emissions, waste management, bulk storage, noise and the general condition of the site.

A study entitled Environmental Compliance in Irelands Print, Packaging and Labelling Sector [pdf file] has examined the findings of approximately 100 reviews carried out on sixty client companies over the period 1995 to 2011.

The main findings of this study include the following;

  • Wastewater management issues accounted for most non-conformances. The main difficulties arose with the Effluent Discharge Licence, for example, monitoring of wastewater characteristics and volumes and/or instances where emission limit values were exceeded.
  • Inadequate storage of chemicals, solvents and fuel oils proved to be the next most frequent cause of non-conformity and this was primarily due to issues with bunding.
  • Regarding atmospheric emissions, issues relating to stack height, insufficient extraction and exceeding emission limit values were the main reasons for non-conformances.
  • Waste management non-conformances were due to improper waste disposal and a lack of waste segregation.
  • Noise abatement and the general condition of the site have given rise to very few issues of concern.

Between the years 1995 and 2011 the overall trend in relation to non-conformances in the areas of wastewater management, waste management, atmospheric emissions and bulk storage is downward in all instances.

There have been no non-conformances recorded in relation to the general condition of the site since the reviews began in 1995. Since 1999, there have been no issues of concern regarding noise.

These are positive outcomes for the print, packaging and labelling sector, indicating significant improvements in environmental performance throughout this time frame.


Aquatic Toxicity Testing in Ireland - A review of 2011
Source: Shannon Aquatic Toxicity Laboratory - Enterprise Ireland
AQUATIC TOXICITY TESTING IN IRELAND 2011 CoverHow do we know a substance is hazardous to the aquatic environment?
According to EC Regulation 1272/2008 on the classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, and EC Regulation 1907/2006 on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), a substance is hazardous if it is Persistent, Bio-accumulates and is Toxic (PBT).

Assessment of whether a substance is toxic is based on aquatic toxicity testing using a variety of fish, crustaceans and algae.

The Shannon Aquatic Toxicity Laboratory (SATL) has extensive experience in toxicity testing, and provides a nation-wide service to industry, local authorities and state agencies.

Aquatic toxicity tests can be used for the following purposes:

  • Determining compliance with IPPC/WWDA/Local authority licenses
  • Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulations
  • ADR Regulations
  • Hazardous Waste Classification
  • Determination of the toxicity of individual waste streams within a process (Toxicity Identification Evaluation - TIE)
  • Determination of the most appropriate waste treatment options (Toxicity Reduction Evaluation - TRE)

The EPA has been using aquatic toxicity tests to assess compliance of effluent discharges since 1992 in conjunction with the more conventional substance-by-substance approach. The tests are applied to complex discharges to measure the effect of the whole effluent. The EPA has, so far, issued approximately 800 IPPC licences and some 25% of these have a toxicity limit.

Effluents tested in the laboratory in 2011 came from a variety of industrial categories:

  • 44% - Chemical Industry,
  • 18% - Local Authority wastewater treatment plants.
  • 6% - Local Authorities/Consultants,
  • 6% - Food and Drink Industry.
  • The remaining samples were from enterprises producing energy, metals, mineral fibres and glass, wood, paper, textiles and leather, fossil fuels and cement.

These effluents are discharged to freshwater (35%), estuarine (3%), marine (24%) systems and, increasingly, to waste water treatment plants (30%).

All toxicity limits contained in Irish discharge licenses (IPPC/WWDA/Local authority licenses) are expressed in Toxic units (TU), where
TU = 100/EC50
(EC50 is the Effective Concentration that causes an effect to 50% of the test organisms)

In the majority of IPPC licences, the toxicity limit is 10 Toxic units.

In 2011, 10% of effluent samples failed at least one test where the result was >10 Toxic units.

Generally, it is found that fish are the least sensitive test species and marine algae are most sensitive. 

The table shows that the marine alga Skeletonema costatum was the most sensitive species followed by the marine copepod Tisbe battagliai. Using the other species, more than 90% of samples complied with the 10 Toxic unit limit.

In cases where the effluent sample fails the emission limit value further tests can be carried out to identify the substance(s) causing the toxicity (TIE) or to determine the most appropriate effluent treatment (TRE).

More Information

For more information Cotact Robert Hernan
Email robert.Hernan@enterprise-ireland.com

Sustainable Practices in Irish Sheepmeat Processing
A recent study by the Environment Department of Enterprise Ireland measured improvements in sustainability among Irish sheepmeat processors between 2005 and 2010. It found significant reductions in mean water use, carbon emissions and effluent discharge strength, which all now meet EU Best Available Technique (BAT) standards. Sheepmeat exports, mainly to France, the UK, Belgium and Scandinavia contributed €170 million to the Irish economy in 2010. The study involved nine plants (three sheep-only and six processors of mixed species) which, in 2010, processed 2,060,000 sheep, 364,000 cattle and 42,000 pigs all supplying both domestic and export markets to varying degrees.

pdf fileDOWNLOAD Study Sustainable Practices in Irish Sheepmeat Processing [ 526kB]

Environmental Compliance in Ireland’s Engineering Sector 


 Download Report Sustainable Practices in Irish Pig Processing pdf file847kB