'Why stop at 20%?' - Call for more action around reusable supermarket products

Some 20% of space in large supermarkets could be given to refillable or reusable products
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.28 17 Dec 2021

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'Why stop at 20%?' - Call for...

'Why stop at 20%?' - Call for more action around reusable supermarket products

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.28 17 Dec 2021

Share this article

An outright ban on wet wipes, sauce sachets and hotel toiletries are just some recommendations that could be brought in to reduce waste.

The Oirechtas Climate Committee wants to see 20% of space in large supermarkets allocated for refillable or reusable products.

It is also recommending selling loose fruit and vegetables at a lower price than packaged goods.


The plastic bag levy could also be expanded in 2021 if new recommendations are approved by Government.

The committee has proposed banning hotel toiletries and single sachets of sauce, salt or sugar as part of the new Circular Economy Bill - which is due to be published next year.

Mindy O'Brien is coordinator at environmental charity Voice Ireland.

She told The Hard Shoulder this is the right way to go.

"It's kind of the next step beyond single use plastic bans that came into place in July.

"This is something that was done in France: they dedicated 20% of the supermarket floor towards reusables and refillables.

"That could be for dry goods, rices, pastas - or also for cleaning products, personal care products.

"We just need to change the system and the supermarkets - we want to create a level playing field so that all supermarkets are required to do this and to make it mainstream - so it's easy for the consumer to do that right thing".

And she says it is important that all retail moves together on this.

"If one shop goes ahead of the other shops, then they may be [at] an economic disadvantage.

"We believe that all supermarkets should move together and we just haven't seen the progress over the last three years that we've been dealing with.

"So we think that actually regulation is essential to get them to change".

'You won't get pushback'

Change management consultant Alan O'Neill says shops want this to happen.

"It's just another reality for retailers - it's change, more change.

"And retailers are so resilient: all of the retailers that I've worked with around the globe in the last year are all talking about sustainability.

"And consciously so, not because they have to, they really do want to support the green agenda in whatever way they can.

"Why limit it to only 20%? That is a fantastic start by the way... we don't want it to stop there.

"Why not, for example, go and just ban all plastics by a certain year?"

And he says most retailers will be happy to get onboard.

"I would say bring it on for retailers or for any business, because you won't get pushback.

"I don't believe you'll get pushback.

"It is going to be difficult for the retailers, but they will be very very heavily dependent on collaborating with their suppliers all the way back through the supply chain".

The full bill is set to be published early in the new year.

Main image: A man chooses tomatoes in a supermarket with a reusable bag in April 2020 in Thailand. Picture by: Elizaveta Galitckaia / Alamy Stock Photo

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Alan O'Neill Circular Economy Bill Fruit And Vegetables Hotel Toiletries Mindy O'Brien Oirechtas Climate Committee Plastic Bag Levy Plastic Packaging Reusable Supermarket Products Sauce Sachets Supermarket Products Supermarkets Wet Wipes

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