A new deposit and return scheme for plastic bottles and cans will be introduced by 2022.
It is hoped the plan, which will see people handed back a deposit for every plastic bottle they recycle, can lift recycling rate over 90% in the coming years.
The scheme is included among a range of measures in the Government’s Waste Action Plan.
The plan aims to cut food waste in half over the next ten years while increasing recycling rates and cutting down on single use plastics.
Launching the plan this morning, the Minister for Climate Action Eamon Ryan said there are four key elements to the plan:
- Halving Ireland’s food waste by 2030
- Introducing of a deposit and return scheme for plastic bottles and cans
- Banning single use plastics from July 2021
- A new levy on disposable cups
Minister Ryan said he is confident the deposit scheme will lead to a big increase in recycling.
“Well, we are going to introduce a deposit and refund scheme which I think the public will support,” he said.
“We have done it in the past and there will be huge gains in terms of even just changing the attitude towards litter and waste when that sort of disposable throw-away bottle, throw away can culture changes – which it will.
“The end of single-use plastics and all of these things are coming now in the next year or two. This is not on the long finger; this is going to be delivered in the next year or two.”
The ban on single use plastics will include things like cotton buds, plates, stirrers, straws, cutlery and polystyrene containers.
Minister Ryan said the plan will set Ireland on a greener path.
“It is setting a whole new direction or a higher ambition in terms of how much we recycle; how, by design, we reduce the amount waste and consumption.
“We can save money that way, cut down on emissions and create jobs – there are real opportunities in this to do things better.”
The Government warned that, unless we change our ways, we will need three Planet Earths to meet our resource demands by 2050.
It said the transition to a circular economy is a “fundamental step” towards a more sustainable future.
The plan has been welcomed by environmental groups this afternoon.
Environmental Pillar coordinator Karen Ciesielski said the plan “serves as a solid blueprint for reducing our waste over the coming decade.”
“We must now ensure commitments are implemented fully and fairly across all sectors. These actions must go beyond being points on a page and be actively fulfilled by those responsible,” she said.
“We are now at a crossroads as we build back up in a post-pandemic economy. We have the opportunity to put ourselves on a totally economic different trajectory, one that is fairer and reduces our climate impact all at the same time.
“We urge the Government to do everything in its power to put us on that path.”
VOICE Coordinator Mindy O’Brien said “We applaud the release of this plan and the collaborative approach taken by the Department.”
“We must ensure that many of the aspirational aspects of this plan come to fruition,” she said.