Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
Robert Dowds (Dublin Mid West, Labour)
Question 444: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he has considered introducing a ban on the sale of alcohol in glass containers from off-licences because of the harm done by broken glass in public recreational areas such as football pitches; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9231/12]
Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
I have no plans to introduce a ban on the sale of alcohol in glass containers from off-licences at this time. Directive 94/62/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on packaging and packaging waste (the Packaging Directive) classifies items such as glass containers as packaging. A ban of the sale of alcohol in glass containers would be contrary to the Packaging Directive, as Article 18 (Freedom to Place on the Market) provides that Member States “shall not impede the placing on the market of their territory of packaging which satisfies the provisions of this Directive.” It should also be noted that glass packaging has environmental and health benefits as it is potentially suitable for endless recycling without loss of quality. Glass is also an inert material with very low rates of leaching of its constituent substances into liquids in contact with the glass.
Under the Litter Pollution Acts 1997 to 2009 it is the function of local authorities to provide the primary response to littering. My Department’s role is to provide the legislative framework for combating litter pollution, and to motivate and energise anti-litter responses as necessary. It is the responsibility of each local authority to both prioritise and determine the most appropriate course of action to tackle litter pollution within the relevant legislation. While I appreciate the potential for harm to be caused by broken glass being discarded in public recreational areas, it is a matter for local authorities to ensure that those engaging in such anti-social and dangerous behaviour are dealt with appropriately.