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Wednesday 31 May 2023 Dublin: 13°C
Shutterstock/Diana Vucane
# latte levy
20c charge for single-use coffee cups set to be brought in later this year
The levy will be brought in as part of the government’s new Circular Economy Bill.

THE GOVERNMENT PLANS to introduce a 20c levy on disposable coffee cups later this year to encourage people to choose reusable alternatives. 

Cabinet has approved the Circular Economy Bill which includes a number of measures around the use of resources and minimising waste. 

As part of this, the government intends to bring in a levy on single-use cups later this year, subject to approval from the European Union. 

Also in the next few months, disposable coffee cups will be banned for sit-in customers at cafes and restaurants. 

The Department of Environment said nearly 200 million coffee cups are sent to landfill or incinerators each year in Ireland. 

The department said the proceeds from the 20c levy per cup will be ringfenced into a Circular Economy Fund for environment and climate projects. 

“The ambition is to make Ireland the first country in the world to eradicate disposable coffee cups,” the department said. 

The Circular Economy Bill approved by Cabinet will also allow local authorities to use CCTV and other technologies in compliance with GDPR to detect and prevent illegal dumping and littering.

The bill also adds to Programme for Government commitments around cutting fossil fuel exploration.

It will introduce bans on exploration for and extraction of coal, lignite and oil shale. 

The government has already committed to ending new licences for the exploration and extraction of gas. 

Minister of State for Communications and Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth, said the bill “aims to stop the wasteful pattern of using valuable resources once and then just binning them”. 

“From discouraging the use of single-use items, to improving the process for allowing recycled materials onto the market, this legislation will support the development of sustainable products and business models across the economy,” Smyth said.

Smyth told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that people may have stopped using reusable cups since the start of the pandemic. 

Many coffee shops stopped taking reusable cups over the past two years, particularly in 2020 when there was a heightened focus on the spread of Covid-19 through surfaces.

“It’s very similar to the plastic bag levy,” Smyth said. 

“People will remember when that came in, we were using a giant number of plastic bags and after the levy came in, the reduction was 95% in the use of plastic bags.”

The plastic bag levy, introduced in 2002 in Ireland, requires shops to charge 22 cent for a plastic shopping bag. 

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan said “we need to re-think the way we interact with the goods and materials we use every day” to reach net-zero emissions.

“Through a mix of economic incentives and smarter regulation we can achieve far more sustainable patterns of production and consumption that move us away from the patterns of single-use and throw-away materials and goods that are such a wasteful part of our economic model now,” he said.

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