The Irish Government says the Circular Economy and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2022 shifts Ireland away from a “take-make-waste” economy by incentivising the use of recycled and reusable alternatives to wasteful, single-use disposable packaging.
The act has been signed by the President and is now law. The Irish Government says it underpins Ireland’s shift from a linear model to a more sustainable pattern of production and consumption, that retains the value of resources in the economy for as long as possible and will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Through a mix of economic incentives and smarter regulation, we can achieve far more sustainable patterns of production and consumption.
As it passed through the Dáil, the Irish parliament, the Act received broad cross-party support to introduce levies on all single-use packaging over time and where more sustainable alternatives are available and it comprises more social protections, including measures to protect low-income households and people with disabilities.
The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communication says the Act also ensures that Ireland has a fit-for-purpose regulatory system in place to allow hundreds of thousands of tonnes of material to be safely and sustainably re-used as secondary raw materials, which could be particularly important for the construction sector.
The new legislation will empower local authorities to use GDPR-compliant technologies such as CCTV to detect and prevent unsightly and illegal dumping and littering, which the Irish Government says will help to deter fly-tipping.
We have to rethink the way we interact with the goods and materials we use every day.
With this Act, over time a range of single-use disposable products will also be phased out. Among its targets is to make Ireland one of the first countries in the world to eliminate the use of disposable coffee cups.
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, said: “This is a landmark moment in this government’s commitment to making the circular economy a reality in Ireland.
“Through a mix of economic incentives and smarter regulation, we can achieve far more sustainable patterns of production and consumption that move us away from the patterns of single-use and throw-away materials and goods that are such a wasteful part of our economic model now.
“We have to rethink the way we interact with the goods and materials we use every day if we are to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions because 45% of those emissions come from producing those goods and materials.”