The Retail Grocery Dairy & Allied Trades Association (RGDATA) has recently voiced its concerns on the feasibility of banning single-use non-compostable cups and tableware, such as coffee cups, as part of the proposed Waste Reduction Bill 2017.
The representative body for owners of '3,500 local independent, family owned shops, convenience stores, forecourt stores and supermarkets' stood before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment to discuss the Bill.
The Bill was tabled by the Green Party and co-sponsored by Labour back in July 2017. It would introduce a deposit and return scheme for beverage containers and ban single-use non-compostable cups and tableware from 2020 onwards.
"Unlike the plastic bag levy, where people could bring their own bags to a shop and customers adapted very quickly to this, there are concerns within the sector that a significant proportion of consumers will be less inclined to bring their own coffee cups, containers or glasses to shops and will be reliant on the food or beverages continuing to be supplied in containers and with utensils from the shop," said Tara Buckley, director general, RGDATA.
Buckley's statement highlighted the significant role that local independent shops have played in bringing Ireland's recycling rates from 15% in 1997 to 90% in 2016.
“Our members pay significant fees to Repak to fulfill their waste management and recycling objectives and to comply with Irish and EU regulations.” Buckley outlined.
“We are also active in our communities encouraging reuse and recycling with many RGDATA members hosting recycling centres on their sites and proactively working in their stores to follow best practice guidelines, providing staff training on waste management, appointing green champions in their stores and adopting initiatives to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and to be more efficient in our use of natural resources.”
She said that many members are already trialling initiatives to encourage their customers to use reusable beverage containers.
In principle RGDATA members reportedly welcome any initiative which helps to reduce waste and contributes to consumers and retailers having more sustainable choices concerning packaging of food products.
“Accordingly we are supportive of the general aims and objectives of this Bill,” she added.
“However, we do have concerns about aspects of this Bill which we feel need to be addressed to ensure that any new legislative measures achieve their objectives without unintended consequences”.
Buckley said that it is important that there are cost-effective and substitutable alternatives available to both retailers and consumers before any ban on the existing implements is introduced.
© 2018 - Checkout Magazine by Donna Ahern