An Irish MEP has welcomed the recent launch of an EU strategy which aims to recycle 55% of plastic packaging waste and ban landfilling separately collected waste by 2030.
Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael MEP for Ireland South, said she welcomed the EU clamp down on plastic and that the plastic industry needed to become more responsible in the use of plastics to protect the environment.
“Plastic production is 20 times higher now than in the 1960s and is set to quadruple again by 2050,” Clune said, speaking from Strasbourg. “We cannot continue to produce and use this amount of plastic, which is impacting hugely on our environment.”
The ban on plastics came after China banned imports of foreign waste at the beginning of 2018, leaving EU regulators searching for ways to recycle or dispose of the plastic waste piling up in ports across the bloc.
“Reducing the amount of plastics in our oceans and on our beaches is vital to protect marine life and also to ensure that fish, and as a result the food chain, are not further contaminated by plastics,” Clune added. “We must embrace the move by Europe to eliminate single use plastics, microbeads and marine litter as soon as possible.”
25,000 Dublin Buses
Approximately eight million tonnes of plastic enter the oceans each year, according to the research journal Science. That amount is equivalent to the weight of about 25,000 Dublin buses per minute.
“I warmly welcome the EU clamp down on single use plastics, such as coloured plastic bottles, coffee cups, lid and stirrers, drinking straws, takeaway packaging and microbeads,” said Clune. “Industry must become more responsible in the use of plastics, both in terms of reduction and recyclability. As consumers we must adapt our habits, and as governments, we must implement laws that prevent non-recyclable plastics irreparably damaging our environment.”
Clune continued by referencing how Ireland became a forerunner of curtailing waste in 2002, by being the first country to develop a policy on plastic bags.
“In the first year after legislation introducing a plastic bag levy, a reduction of 90% of plastic bags in Ireland was recorded,” she said. “We must now continue to drive the agenda, particularly as an island nation, surrounded by magnificent fishing waters and beautiful beaches, to change habits when it comes to plastics in our lives.”
Clune is an active member of the Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas Intergroup, which has been working and lobbying on the issue of plastics in relation to marine life, and takes into account the specific issues faced by islands, including Ireland.
On Wednesday, an Oireachtas Committee reviewed the proposed Waste Reduction Bill 2017, co-sponsored by the Green Party and Labour, which would ban single-use non-compostable cups and tableware from 2020 onwards as well as introduce a deposit and return scheme for beverage containers.
The Retail Grocery Dairy & Allied Trades Association (RGDATA) voiced its concern over the feasibility of completely banning the materials, saying that there were issues with the Bill that needed to be addressed to ensure that it achieves its objectives without unintended consequences.
© 2018 - Checkout Magazine by Kevin Duggan