July 12th, 2017
Political parties and NGOs have welcomed the progress of the Waste Reduction Bill as it passed Second Stage in the Dáil yesterday evening.
Last week, the Labour Party announced that it would co-sponsor the bill and use its Private Members’ slot to debate the Bill which will now move on to Committee Stage.
The Bill calls for a ban on single-use, non-compostable cups and other tableware and for the introduction of deposit-and-return schemes for plastic and glass bottles and aluminium cans.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said that the party was “delighted” about the Bill’s progress.
He commented: “We all recognise the need to cut down on the amount of plastic waste being produced and the amount going to landfill.”
“We are convinced this can be done in a way which increases recycling, reduces litter, saves the householder money and wins public support for protecting our environment”, he added.
The bill has received wide cross-party support from the Social Democrats, Sinn Féin, Independents 4 Change and Fianna Fáil. A number of NGOs are also backing the bill.
Kate Ruddock, Deputy Director of Friends of the Earth Ireland, said that the bill offers “sensible and achievable measures to reduce litter” as well as encouraging people to increase their levels of recycle and composting.
She added that the financial reward for recycling plastic bottles included in the Bill will incentivise “positive consumer behaviour change”.
Given the introduction of the new bin charging system, she said it is imperative that it becomes “easier for consumers to recycle and compost their waste rather than sending it all to landfill”.
According to Mindy O’Brien of Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment (VOICE), the legislation would be “a landmark achievement” and would “make Ireland cleaner and greener”.
VOICE, with the support of other environmental groups, recently sent a letter to Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten, TD encouraging the government to bring the bill forward for consideration.
However, during yesterday’s debate, Mr Naughten said that some elements of the bill were “problematic” for the government.
He claimed that the costs associated with the introduction of a deposit-and-return scheme would be greater than the Green Party’s estimates and that a ban on single-use, non-compostable tableware could be in breach of either EU legislation.
Yet, Minister of State Seán Kyne said that, notwithstanding these concerns, the issue is “worthy of debate and consideration” and the government would not oppose the bill.
Today, Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy also called for an information campaign on waste recycling in light of the recent controversy regarding bin charges.
She said that there is “a lack of information regarding what can or cannot be recycled and in many cases it differs depending on the waste operator in an area”.