Monday 20 May 2024
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Ireland moves a step closer to banning the use of plastic coffee cups

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DUBLIN, Ireland – Ireland has moved a step closer to banning the use of plastic coffee cups in favour of biodegradable alternatives by 2020. In Britain, an estimated 2.5billion disposable coffee cups are used each year, creating approximately 25,000 tonnes of waste.

If enacted, Ireland could follow France and India by introducing a similar measure, which would may all plastic tableware and cutlery.

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The Irish Republic was the first nation to tax plastic bags, which cut their use by more than 90 per cent while raising millions of euro in taxes.

The ban has been replicated across the world, with England following suit 13 years later in 2015.

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The Irish Government is opposed to the plan but in a rare display of cross-party co-operation, opposition parties in the Dáil have joined forces and succeeded in moving the Waste Reduction Bill to the next stage in Parliament.

A recent study by Cardiff University found that the provision of free re-usable alternatives combined with clear environmental messaging and a charge on disposable cups increased the use of reusable cups from 5.1 per cent to 17.4 per cent.

The Irish legislation would also see the introduction of a deposit scheme for cans and plastic bottles at a charge of 20 cents per item.

Similar schemes operate in around 40 countries around the world including Germany and United States.

Environment Minister, Denis Naughten, citing research in Britain has claimed the introduction of the system could cost over €760million to introduce.

“A study investigating the possible introduction in the UK puts a figure of €790m per year on it,” he said.

“These are enormous amounts, I believe before we spend a fraction of this on its introduction, we need to ascertain what the benefits would be,” Minister Naughten added.

But Green Party Councillor David Healy, who wrote the Bill says the Minister’s figures don’t compare with a study carried out Scotland, which has a similar population to Ireland.

“We don’t know exactly where he’s gotten his figures from but they don’t match up with a study that was done for Scotland for a deposit and refund scheme,” he said.

It comes as Coca-Cola has announced it plans to increase the amount of recycled plastic in its bottles to 50 per cent amid pressure from environmentalists over mounting plastic waste across the globe.

Desmond Busteed

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