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Government to Take Radical Action on Plastics, Food Waste and Packaging

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton T.D. today (Monday the 16th of September) announced that he will bring forward a number of radical actions to reduce waste and manage resources more effectively. The Minister is today hosting a Summit with the key players from industry, local authorities, waste collectors, household representative groups and NGOs to discuss how this new policy can deliver the ambitious targets set out in the Climate Action Plan.

Over 200kg of waste packaging, 59kg of which is plastic, is generated per person every year in Ireland, above average among our EU neighbours. Food waste alone costs homeowners €700 a year and accounts for a loss of €1 billion to our enterprises.


Minister Bruton announced that he is developing a new waste strategy which will:


Ban single-use plastic plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks, cotton bud sticks, polystyrene cups and food containers

  • Introduce fees on non-recyclable plastics, like on food packaging in supermarkets
  • Halve food waste
  • End the use of non-recyclable plastic
  • Double the rate of recycled material used
  • Increase the recycling rate of plastic packaging by 60%
  • Cut dependence on landfill by 60%

The introduction of environmental levies, such as a levy on single use plastics, is also being considered.


Minister Bruton said:


“Managing our resources properly is crucial to securing a better, more sustainable Ireland for future generations. It is central to the Climate Action Plan– 60% of greenhouse gas emissions come from our use of materials.

 “All along the supply chain we can do better- 70% of food waste is avoidable, half of the material we use is not being segregated properly, two thirds of plastic used is not on the recycling list and labels are confusing.


The Minister has asked the breakout sessions to consider a number of items, such as:


  • How we can eliminate unnecessary packaging and put in place sustainable alternatives
  • How we can increase the amount of recycled and recyclable material used
  • The potential to use levies to change behaviour
  • How we can combat food waste

The Minister said,


“We are now deciding how to chart the route ahead. I am determined to step up ambition and put in place strong policy tools to deliver on our new targets. Today is a chance to shape that roadmap. Leadership in this area is crucial if we are to secure a more sustainable, resilient Ireland for future generations.”


The Summit, which will take place in the Irish Management Institute, is being attended by over 100 key representatives.


Notes for Editors:

This Government is committed to leading the way in reducing single use plastics and is working both at a national and European level to tackle the problem. The government has:

  • Banned the purchase of single-use plastic cups, cutlery and straws across all government departments and bodies
  • Strongly supported new EU legislation on Single Use Plastics (SUP), which will ban straws, cotton bud sticks made from plastic, plastic plates and cutlery, plastic coffee stirrers and plastic balloon holders
  • Committed to a 90% plastic bottle separate collection target and a 55% plastic recycling target
  • Commenced a clean oceans initiative to collect, reduce and reuse marine litter and clean up our marine environment
  • Commissioned a review to establish the best way to reach a 90% separate collection target for beverage containers, after which the Minister will announce the necessary actions.