Single-Use Plastics To Be Banned In Ireland – Here's What That Means For Us

Ireland needs to increase its plastic recycling by 80% to reach EU targets set for 2030, according to Repak. 

Plastic cups, straws, cutlery are among the single-use plastic items to be banned in a crackdown on wasteful and polluting plastics.

The changes – led by Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton – will form part of a new waste strategy aimed at radically reducing the amount of day-to-day plastic used and greatly improving recycling rates.

According to Independent.ie, levies will also be charged for using non-recyclable plastic packaging on food and other goods, with a possible ban to follow on these too if charging does not deter their use.

Monday morning saw Minister Bruton gather 100+ representatives of the waste and packaging industry, local authorities and consumer and environmental groups to put logistics in place.

Their aim is to get to a place where all plastic packaging on the EU market will be recyclable by 2030.

The elimination of plastic entering the sea and a reduction in food waste is also on today's agenda.

The move follows a series of changes made by the Dublin Bay North TD in recent months. In January, he rolled out new legislation banning the purchasing of single-use plastics for government departments, public bodies and schools in Ireland

Back in 2009, Ireland was given a target to, by 2020, reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to 20% below what they were in 2005.

The State has consistently lagged behind in reaching these goals and is on target to have reduced its emissions by less than 1% come 2020.

The EU’s targets for 2030 include a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Climate and energy experts estimate Ireland will face EU fines running to hundreds of millions of euro for failing to reach the targets, but the Government insists the penalties will not be this large.

In January of 2018, the European Commission adopted the first-ever Europe-wide strategy on plastics.

Ireland generates, on average, more than 200kg of packaging waste per year, 59kg of which is plastic. That's the highest in the EU and almost twice the European average.

For the average person, this means that the use of single-use plastics in Ireland, excessive food waste and illegal dumping will likely cost you.

Illegal dumping is a major problem for communities across the country. 

In January of this year, The Journal reported that volunteers removed 13 tonnes of illegal waste from the Wicklow/Dublin uplands in the first three weeks of this year.   

As a direct result, government funding was increased by 50% from €2 million to €3 million. 

Persons who are found to be responsible for, or involved in, the unauthorised disposal of waste are liable to a maximum fine of €5,000 on summary conviction and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months, and to a maximum fine of €15 million on conviction on indictment and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.​​

READ MORE: The World's Largest Hotel Chain Is Ditching Single-Use Toiletry Bottles By 2020

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