Ireland is an island country on the western boundary of the European Union. A suite of environmental legislation over the last decade has combined to increase the amount of municipal sludge for treatment fourfold, while, simultaneously, eliminating traditional disposal methods. The Irish Government has instituted a comprehensive programme of policy development, infrastructure provision and drafting of "codes of good practice" to meet these environmental and legislative challenges. As the programme has developed, it has become clear that the sludge/biosolids issue shares many of the philosophical and logistical elements of other environmental issues that are developing apace in Ireland, including municipal waste management, agricultural waste management and overall integrated development. In many ways, it represents a model of the ultimate "sustainable development" issue. To provide specific data for decision making and policy/infrastructure/technology development, the Irish Government has funded a US$600k programme of research in The Characterisation, Treatment and Sustainable Reuse of Biosolids. The design philosophy of the programme is a "cradle-to-grave" approach, in order to integrate the outcomes of specialised research studies into an overall sustainable development model.