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plastic waste

Straws, cutlery and cotton buds among single-use plastics banned from tomorrow

The EU directive was agreed upon in 2019.

AN EU DIRECTIVE restricting certain single-use plastic products – such as the straws, cutlery and cotton buds – being placed on the Irish market will come into effect tomorrow. 

The Single-Use Plastics Directive sets strict rules for reducing the type of products and packaging which are among the top ten most frequently found items polluting European beaches.

Under the directive, where alternatives are easily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from the market, such as cutlery, plates and straws. For other products, efforts will be made to limit their use through design and labelling, and clean-up obligations for those who manufacture them.

The ban was agreed upon in 2019 and EU member states, including Ireland, have had two years to transpose the legislation into their national law.

In compliance with the directive, the following single-use plastic items will be banned from being placed on the Irish market from 3 July:

  • Cotton bud sticks
  • Cutlery
  • Plates
  • Stirrers
  • Chopsticks
  • Straws
  • Expanded polystyrene single use food and beverage containers
  • All oxo-degradable plastic products

The EU directive will also see other measures come into effect over the next few years. 

By 5 January 2023, producers of packaging of certain single-use plastics will be required to cover the costs of litter clean up. The EU Commission is said to be producing guidance on how this will be calculated. 

From January 2025, it will be a requirement for drink producers to have at a minimum of 25% recycled plastic in their single-use plastic bottles. 

The EU directive is in line with the government’s own plan to tackle waste, announced last year. The plan includes aims to halve food waste by 2030, introduce a deposit and return scheme for plastic bottles and aluminium cans, and place a levy on disposable cups. 

“Our future depends on us rapidly changing the way we produce products; this will contribute to a much wider effort to address climate change,” said Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell ahead of tomorrow’s implementation. 

“The Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy also commits Ireland to increase plastic recycling rates to 50% by 2025, introducing a deposit return scheme which will accommodate plastic bottles; and by 2030, ensure that all packaging on the Irish market is reusable or recyclable.

“Recent record temperatures in Canada are the latest reminder that we need to tackle Climate Change, now. We cannot afford to wait any longer to act.”

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