Quantcast

Ireland to Reduce Waste by Cutting out All Single-Use Plastic

Popular
A plastic bag sticks to a wire fence in a remote location in the Mourne Mountains, co Down, Northern Ireland. Dave G Kelly / Moment / Getty Images

Ireland is ready to say goodbye to plastic cutlery, plastic balloon sticks and grocery items wrapped in plastic as a way to drastically reduce the amount of waste in Irish landfills, according to the Ireland's national broadcaster, RTE.


Speaking at a Waste Summit in Dublin on Monday, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton said the government is working on mapping out a plan to ban single-use plastic plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks, cotton buds stick, polystyrene cups and food containers, although a fee on the use of such plastics is being discussed as a possible first step, as RTE reported.

Bruton said he would also like to completely end the use of non-recyclable plastic like the crinkly plastic that bags of bell peppers are packaged in, but is first considering charging supermarkets a levy for using it.

"I am determined to step up ambition and put in place strong policy tools to deliver on our new targets," Bruton said, as The Irish Times reported. "Today is a chance to shape that roadmap. Leadership in this area is crucial if we are to secure a more sustainable, resilient Ireland for future generations."

The Minister hosted the Waste Summit and met with over 100 key players from industry — local authorities, waste collectors, household representative groups and NGOs — to discuss effective implementation of the climate action policies, according to The Irish Times.

The government strategy goes beyond ending single-use plastic and levies on packaging. It hopes to hit a number of benchmarks, including reducing food waste by half, increasing plastic recycling by 60 percent, doubling the amount of recycled material that is used, and cutting dependence on landfills by 60 percent, as The Journal in Ireland reported.

The ambitious new policies will have far-reaching implications for retailers, especially supermarkets; fast food restaurants, manufacturers, the packaging sector and consumers, The Irish Times reported.

The European Union has suggested a ban on single-use plastic straws and cutlery for its member states and gave EU countries two years to write the legislation into their national law. There is particular urgency for Ireland, since it is an outlier amongst member states, generating much more waste per capita than the European average. In Ireland, the average person generates over 400 pounds of waste packaging every year, of which 130 pounds is plastic, as The Journal reported.

"Managing our resources properly is crucial to securing a better, more sustainable Ireland for future generations," said Bruton, according to the Irish Times. "It is central to the Climate Action Plan – 60 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions come from our use of materials.

"All along the supply chain we can do better – 70 percent of food waste is avoidable, half of the material we use is not being segregated properly, two-thirds of plastic used is not on the recycling list and labels are confusing," he said.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Loggers operate in an area of lodgepole pine trees killed by the mountain pine beetle in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest on Sept. 13, 2019 in Montana. As climate change makes summers hotter and drier in the Northern Rockies, forests are threatened with increasing wildfire activity, deadly pathogens and insect infestations, including the mountain pine beetle outbreak. The insects have killed more than six million acres of forest across Montana since 2000. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Donald Trump told a crowd at the Davos World Economic Forum Tuesday that the U.S. will join the Forum's 1t.org initiative to restore and conserve one trillion trees around the world, according to The Hill.

Read More
Wild rice flatbread is one of many Native recipes found in Indigikitchen. Indigikitchen

The online cooking show Indigikitchen is providing a platform to help disseminate Indigenous food recipes — while helping eaters recognize their impact on the planet and Native communities.

Read More
Sponsored

On the Solomon Islands, rats and poachers are the two major threats to critically endangered sea turtles. A group of local women have joined forces to help save the animals from extinction.

Read More
Whale watching (here, off Húsavík, Iceland) may be better for the local economy than whale hunting. Davide Cantelli / Wikimedia / CC BY

By Joe Roman

One of the most important global conservation events of the past year was something that didn't happen. For the first time since 2002, Iceland — one of just three countries that still allow commercial whaling — didn't hunt any whales, even though its government had approved whaling permits in early 2019.

Read More
People participate in a national mile-long march to highlight the push for clean water in Flint Feb. 19, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. Bill Pugliano / Stringer / Getty Images

The Supreme Court made a decision Tuesday that means Flint residents can sue state and local officials over the water crisis that leached lead into their water and resulted in at least 12 deaths.

Read More