Written answers

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Environmental Policy

Photo of Jackie CahillJackie Cahill (Tipperary, Fianna Fail)
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491. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if proposals will be brought forward for a pilot programme for a deposit return policy for plastic bottles to commence the process of reducing the amount of plastic dumped in the environment annually; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9530/19]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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The government is committed to leading the way on tackling plastic waste and increasing the level of plastic recycling.

We have consistently exceeded the current EU plastic recycling target of 22.5%, with the most up to date figures showing that we recycled 35.7% of plastics in 2016.

We will increase this (our plastic recycling rate) to 55% by 2030.

The public sector are leading the way in reducing our reliance on single use plastics. The government recently approved a plan to stop purchasing certain single use plastic cups, cutlery and straws across the public sector and to require all government departments and agencies to have resource efficiency plans in place.

We are also working on proposals to ensure the €12 billion the government spends on public procurement every year, takes account of environmental matters. This will ensure all state contracts include the full life cycle cost of our purchases.

A review of how best to achieve a 90% collection target for plastic bottles has already been commissioned and this will include an examination of an Irish Deposit and Return Scheme. Following this review, I will make a recommendation to government on whether the introduction of such a scheme is the best way in which to make progress in this area.

The government also strongly supports an EU proposal to reduce the impact of certain single use plastic (SUP) products, which proposes (a) a ban on certain plastic products, (b) targets for reducing the use of certain plastics and (c) obligations for producers to cover the costs of waste management and clean up.


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