Ban on non-compostable, non-recyclable single-use plastics by 2020 also proposed
The Green Party today launched the Waste Reduction Bill 2017, which aims to introduce a deposit refund scheme on bottles and cans, and introduce a ban on single-use, non-recyclable plastics, such as coffee cups and plastic cutlery.
Speaking today, Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan TD said: “The issue of plastic pollution is a massive challenge. Every year, over 110 million tonnes of plastic is produced. Of this, up to 43% ends up in landfill. According to the UN, 8 million tonnes of plastic leak into oceans each year. This is equivalent to dumping a truck of plastic into the sea every minute. It is now predicted that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish and that 99 per cent of seabirds will have ingested plastic.
“In Ireland we are producing in the region of 210,000 tonnes of plastic per year. The most recent EPA Waste Packaging Statistics for Ireland 2013, states only 40% of plastic packaging is recycled and according to the National Waste Report in 2011, at least 52.5% of all plastic packaging waste in Ireland went straight to landfill.
Green Party Deputy Leader and TD for Dublin Rathdown Catherine Martin said: “The purpose of our bill is quite simple – to reduce the amount of plastic consumed in Ireland every year, and encourage recycling. We want to do this in two simple ways. Firstly, introduce a deposit refund scheme on glass and plastic bottles and cans. This is done in other countries, and there’s no reason why it can’t be done here. The second, is to phase out single-use, non-recyclable plastics, such as coffee cups, plastic cutlery etc. There are recyclable and compostable alternatives out there, and we must use them where possible.
“Surveys show that 89% of people would support a deposit refund scheme, and Minister Naughten has previously voiced his enthusiasm for such a move. We’re confident that all parties in the Dáil will support such a common sense proposal.”
Senator Grace O’Sullivan said: “The fears about the level of plastic pollution in our environment are well founded. We can see the massive damage we are doing to crucial habitats. The government must take strong action to tackle plastic waste, and to support a truly 'circular economy' at the European and global level. We need to protect human health, as well as the health of our seas and oceans, which Ireland in particular relies on for so much.”