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Act now! Stop Naughten killing action on plastic bottles

Posted by Meaghan Carmody on May 18, 2018 at 05:04 PM

NO FEE0181 Sick of Plastic Campaign at Dail copy

Laws are rarely simple. We know that from our work pushing through 2015’s Climate Law [1]. Words carry a weight that we rarely see in day-to-day life, with just a small tweak causing a flurrying cascade of consequences down the line.

That’s why our ears pricked up when we learnt that Minister Denis Naughten has been manoeuvring behind the scenes to dilute the wording of a draft law for a deposit and return scheme for plastic bottles and aluminium cans [2]. Naughten wants to change the word ‘shall’ to ‘may’ in the report the Environment Committee is finalizing on the proposal.

Here's why that’s an issue:

"Shall" = Obligatory

"May" = Optional

If the wording is changed, the Minister has no obligation to introduce a national deposit return scheme across Ireland. We need the Environment Committee to stay strong, and maintain the wording that will ensure a deposit return scheme is implemented in Ireland. The committee will vote on the Minister's amendment on Tuesday. Will you ask the Committee members to stand strong for action to reduce plastic waste?


We have been campaigning strongly for this scheme, and almost 20,000 people have signed petitions [3] calling for a national deposit return scheme on plastic drinks containers. The Environment Committee listened, and they came to the conclusion in their report that a deposit and return scheme should be rolled out.

The crux of the issue is that our Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment is meddling in this process in order to dilute his obligations. To add insult to injury, this whole process is taking place behind closed doors, and the report that the Minister wants changed is currently private.

Time is of the essence, as the vote on this change will take place on Tuesday May 22nd at 3pm.

Please take just 1 minute to email the Environment Committee members now.

DRSIreland generates over 1.8 billion single use plastic bottles and 582 million aluminium cans every single year [4]. Imagine a country where it is the norm to return plastic bottles and aluminium cans in exchange for the deposit paid on purchase. We can have that if our TDs stand up to Naughten and vote down his amendment.

Ask your TDs to not let Naughten stop action on plastic bottles.

We hope you'll use your voice to help keep the deposit return scheme alive.

Meaghan for signatureIn solidarity,

Meaghan Carmody
Head of Mobilization
Friends of the Earth

P.S. Backbench TDs aren't used to having the votes to overrule ministers. Let's use our people power to make sure our TDs don't bow down before ministerial power. Let's keep action on plastic pollution on track.

NO FEE0181 l copy
Sick of Plastic campaigners present a petition for a deposit and return scheme at the Dáil on 17 January 2018 [5]


[1] "Landmark climate law increases transparency, expert advice and parliamentary accountability".


[3] Sick of Plastic Petition:

[4] Oireachtas testimony of Mindy O'Brien (VOICE)

[5] Story behind the photo above:

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