Ireland to tackle “fast fashion”, cigarette butts & plastic

Ireland announces the key areas for the government’s “radical” new waste strategy.

Over 200kg of waste packaging, 59kg of which is plastic, is generated per person every year in Ireland, above average among our EU neighbours, Ireland’s Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment says.

More than half of “fast fashion” is disposed of in less than a year, it says, and food waste alone costs Ireland’s homeowners €700 a year and accounts for a loss of €1 billion to the country’s enterprises.

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton has announced these will be among the areas of focus for the country’s “radical” new waste strategy”.

In a consultation, the Department is now seeking views on:

  • measures to tackle “fast fashion”
  • better labelling for recyclable goods
  • targets to ensure correct bins are used, providing clearer information on what goes into each bin
  • measures to halve food waste
  • ending the use of non-recyclable plastic
  • how to further crack down on illegal dumping
  • incentivising the use of recycled materials in the construction industry
  • working with other EU member states to design the structure of an EU wide plastic packaging tax to encourage the further prevention of plastic packaging
  • how to raise awareness among individuals and businesses on how best to manage their waste – this will include consideration of making waste prevention/recycling part of the school curriculum.

Climate action plan

As part of the country’s Climate Action Plan, Minister Bruton says Ireland must “radically change” its “wasteful” use of precious resources.

“We need to act now and we have identified 75 measures which can be quickly implemented,” he said.

“These include: enforcing existing rules, encouraging audits and waste reduction targets, higher fees for difficult to recycle packaging and bringing commercial vehicle tyres into the successful tyre recycling scheme.

We need to act now and we have identified 75 measures which can be quickly implemented

“We may also introduce mandatory brown bin collections, ban bulky waste from landfill, place costs of cigarette butt clean up on the tobacco industry and expand the items allowed in the green bin. Sectoral initiatives will be promoted, particularly in the food sector.

“We will ban single-use plastic plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks, cotton bud sticks, polystyrene cups and food containers and introduce fees on non-recyclable plastics, like on food packaging in supermarkets.

“A major study of crime in the waste sector will also be undertaken”

Poor practice

“A major focus will be on poor practices in business where 70% of material dumped could be recycled,” Minister Bruton said. “But these sorts of measures will also play their part in the household sector where ambitious new targets are being set.”

The Minister has today also announced the establishment of an Advisory Group, who will assist in the production of the new policy.

The Group chaired by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and  comprised of representatives from environmental NGOs, the Industry, and the regulatory sector will meet for the first time in January.

Consultations  on a range of measures, administrative and legislative, open today and the Department is seeking views until Friday the 21 February.

Interested parties can find further information here & here

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