Speaking at the Waste Summit, Ireland's minister for climate action said he intends to introduce a ban on single-use plastics, as well as a fee on non-recyclable plastics
For 17 years, the people of Ireland have been paying a 22 cent levy on plastic carrier bags. The law, which was introduced in 2002, was implemented to reduce the consumption of disposable plastic bags by influencing consumer behaviour.
It had an immediate effect, with a decrease in plastic bag usage from an estimated 328 bags per capita to an estimated 14 bags per capita by 2014.
Now, in an effort to reduce plastic waste even further, the Irish government has announced a number of new measures. These include a ban on all single-use plastics (including plastic cutlery and balloon sticks), as well as a potential levy on non-recyclable plastic packaging.
Speaking at the Waste Summit in Dublin on Monday, the Minister for Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton said he is working on a new strategy to cut down on single-use plastic pollution.
Ideally, he wants items such as plastic plates, cutlery, drinking straws, balloon sticks, cotton buds, polystyrene cups and other polystyrene containers to be banned.
What’s more, Bruton said he would like to introduce a fee on non-recyclable plastics, such as the soft plastic which covers food at the supermarket.
The idea is that, if a levy worked so well against plastic bag waste, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work on food packaging.
This announcement is in line with the EU directive to ban single-use plastics by 2021.
Taking to social media, Minister Bruton said, "Banning a range of single-use plastics, new fees on non-recyclable plastics, and halving food waste will be vital to ensuring the Climate Action Plan succeeds". He noted that 60% of greenhouse gas emissions come from our use of materials.
"Reducing our food waste at each stage of the food chain will result in savings for producers, retails and consumers," Bruton continued. "Much of our food waste is avoidable and there is great scope for this to be reduced; as well as eliminating plastics that are not recyclable in our food packaging."
For tips on how to reduce your plastic waste, see our eight ways to break up with plastic here.
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