The Green Party’s Waste Reduction Bill to be debated in Dáil tomorrow

July 10th, 2017

The Green Party’s Waste Reduction Bill is set to be debated in the Dáil tomorrow evening after the Labour Party agreed to co-sponsor the Bill.

The Bill calls for a ban on non-biodegradable coffee cups from January 2020, and for the introduction of a deposit and refund scheme for glass and plastic bottles.

If the Bill goes through, Ireland would join the likes of France, Korea and San Francisco in ordering a complete ban on single-use non-recyclable plastics, such as coffee cups and plastic cutlery.

Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin, TD said that the Bill is a sensible and important piece of legislation which will address “Government inaction” on the issue.

“For too long the Government has dragged its feet on the environment, promising to act but so far, delivering nothing,” he said.  “When faced with Government inaction on this scale, it is important that progressive voices unite in common cause.”

Welcoming this support, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, TD said that there is a “broad consensus” that the measures proposed are “sensible, achievable, and will have a positive impact for the environment”.

A 2013 opinion poll carried by Coastwatch Ireland of 1,426 adults and children over 10 found that 89 percent would support such a proposal.

The Bill comes as the Government announced last week that it will stop flat rate bin charges in favour of a pay-by-weight, pay-by-lift system – already in operation in half the country.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the new bin-charges system will be phased in gradually over a 15-month period from September. Mr Ryan said that his party’s Bill will help householders lower their waste bills by reducing the number of waste materials at source.

The Environmental Pillar (EP) has long advocated for a drinks container deposit scheme and recently testified before the Joint Oireachtas Budget Committee asking for such a measure to be adopted.

At the hearing, Mindy O’Brien, EP spokesperson, also outlined the Pillar’s proposal for a levy to be imposed on single-use non-compostable items such as disposable coffee cups, plastic cutlery, and straws.

She said that the levy would go a long way to encourage a “new sustainable packaging industry” while also addressing the “scourge of plastic” impacting our environment.

“Our disposable economy has created a mountain range of plastic that is choking our landscape, waterways, towns and cities,” said O’Brien.

“We call on Minister Naughten to join 23 other countries and support this initiative to combat our throw-away society and to promote the circular economy.”

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