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Minister speaks to Insomnia and Supermacs about reducing use of disposable coffee cups

With cross-party support, the Green Party’s Waste Reduction Bill made its way through the Dáil.

MINISTER DENIS NAUGHTEN has spoken to coffee retailer Insomnia and fast-food restaurant Supermacs about reducing the use of disposable coffee cups in a bid to cut down on waste.

Last night, Green Party’s Waste Reduction Bill made its way through Second Stage in the Dáil.

In a rare move, the Labour Party co-sponsored the Green Party’s Bill, allowing it to proceed in their Private Members’ slot yesterday.

The bill, which has cross-party support, has two main aspects. One is introducing a recycling deposit scheme for plastic bottles, glass bottles and cans. The other is banning single-use, non-compostable plastics such as coffee cups.

Speaking last night, Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan said he was delighted it had passed Second Stage in the Dáil, meaning it will now proceed to Committee Stage where the detail of the scheme can be scrutinised.

“We all recognise the need to cut down on the amount of plastic waste being produced, and the amount going to landfill,” he said.

“There is broad consensus that the measures we’ve proposed are sensible, achievable, and will have a positive impact for the environment and for consumers.”

Minister Naughten said he agreed with some aspects of the Bill, but had a number of concerns, particularly around costings.

Naughten said he is “gravely concerned” at the amount of plastic waste pollution.

We must move on from dumping, to enable people take action to avoid, to reduce and to reuse. Waste efficiency, is effective climate action and it’s economically smarter.
As a society we discard an incredible 80% of what we produce after a single use. It gravely concerns me that two million disposable coffee cups a day are going to our landfills.
Because of these concerns I have personally had discussions with both Insomnia and Supermacs on this very issue and indeed last October for ‘Re-Use’ month colleagues may remember that I supplied each member of the Oireachtas with a ‘Keep Cup’.

It is understood that Insomnia uses 15 million cups each year and is carrying out research into biodegradable cups.

However, the minister told the Dáil last night that he has concerns about the cost of the roll-out of the other aspect of the Bill – the proposals which would see consumers able to avail of a 10c refund if they bring back their plastic bottle, glass bottle or can.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has agreed that there will be a cost, putting it at €276 million. However, he said this would be borne by the manufacturers and would save the Exchequer money in terms of what it would save on landfill.

“Based on Eamon Ryan’s costs and Brendan Howlin’s recycling rates we will spend €276 million to collect an additional 4 out of 100 glass bottles and 6 out of every 100 plastics.  I could find a better use for that money,” said the minister.

Without a complete understanding of the cost implications on the taxpayer, on employers, on retailers and on customers it would be financially reckless of me to proceed with its introduction here without proper scrutiny.
I will not create another PPARS (personnel, payroll and related systems) or another E-voting machine fiasco.

The Bill will now proceed to Committee Stage where stakeholders will have an opportunity to voice their views and concerns.

Read: Scheme to give you 10c back for each bottle and can could cost €120m to roll-out>

Read: Harris ‘sickened’ at the ‘misleading nonsense’ spread by rogue crisis pregnancy agencies>

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