All public bodies to stop purchasing single-use plastic cups, cutlery and straws

Richard Bruton says such steps are essential to put Ireland on a "sustainable path"

All public bodies to stop purchasing single-use plastic cups, cutlery and straws

Picture by: Frank May/DPA/PA Images

All Government departments, public bodies and schools will stop purchasing single-use cups, cutlery and straws by the end of March this year.

Environment Minister Richard Bruton says the Government is attempting to 'lead the way' in reducing plastic use.

Government departments will stop purchasing the single-use items from today, and that ban will extend to all public bodies after March 31st.

Exceptions will be made when there are public health, hygiene or safety concerns involved.

The various Government departments will develop resource efficiency plans to help staff reduce energy and water use, while limiting food waste and maximising recycling.

Officials will also be looking at proposals to ensure national public procurement policy more fully considers environmental issues.

Minister Bruton says today's announcement is part of a concerted effort to improve sustainable options.

He explained: "We will take a much more responsible attitude to waste generally, to the use of energy, to the use of water, and to have genuine green procurement policies.

"It means we adopt the sustainable option, rather than going for short-term thinking that sometimes can lock you into a high carbon way of life."

He added: “Ireland is way off course in our response to climate disruption. It's practical steps like these that put us on a sustainable path which is essential if we are to achieve our ambition to become a leader." 

He also suggested the new policies will help create a new market for sustainable goods and services.

Last October, the EU Parliament voted in favour of measures that could lead to a complete ban on a range of single-use plastics across the bloc