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File photo. Shutterstock/Denis Pogostin
cut waste

'Radical' new government strategy to ban single-use plastic plates, cutlery, straws

The plans will see Ireland adhering to a direction from the European Council made in May.

MINISTER FOR CLIMATE Action Richard Bruton has said he’ll be bringing forward a number of “radical actions” to reduce waste and manage resources more effectively.

This “radical” strategy will see the government banning plastic plates, cutlery straws, balloon sticks, cotton buds sticks, polystyrene cups and food containers.

It’ll also see the introduction on non-recyclable plastics, like those used for food packaging in supermarkets.

The ban on single-use plastic straws and cutlery have already been suggested at EU level and approved by the European Council. When the decision was made in May, EU member states including Ireland were given two years to transpose the legislation into their national law. 

Today, Bruton is holding a summit featuring 100 representatives from industry, local authorities, waste collectors and others to discuss these new policies.

The government hopes that its new strategy can achieve a number of goals, including halving food waste, increasing the recycling rate of plastic packaging by 60% and cut dependence on landfill by 60%. 

The introduction of environmental levies, such as a levy on single-use plastics, is also being considered.

Ireland’s waste generation is already well above average in Europe, with over 200kg of waste packaging – of which 59kg is plastic – generated per person every year here. 

Bruton said: “All along the supply chain we can do better – 70% 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.

We are now deciding how to chart the route ahead. I am determined to step up ambition and put in place strong policy tools to deliver on our new targets. Today is a chance to shape that roadmap.

With reporting from Christina Finn

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