On the Road to Plastic Free!
Posted by Claudia Tormey on July 23, 2019 at 12:08 PM
Breaking free from plastic is not just a personal journey, it's a global movement of millions of people pushing for bigger action on plastic production, consumption and waste.
And we have some good news to share!
In May 2019 the EU formally approved a pioneer legislation to curb single-use plastics and earlier this month the EU Single Use Plastic (SUP) Directive was adopted and made law. Member states, including Ireland, now have two years to adopt it into Irish law and ensure we are on track to reach its targets.
This milestone is all thanks to plastic free campaigners who demanded change from industry and government all across Europe.
Despite the Waste Reduction Bill being stalled, we can remain hopeful that this EU Directive will result in real government action on plastic.
Thank you for keeping up the pressure and supporting the Sick of Plastic campaign.
What's in the SUP Directive?
- Banning 10 plastic items that are commonly found in the marine environment,including plastic cutlery, straws, stirrers, cotton buds, plates and balloon sticks. It also bans Styrofoam cups, food containers and drinks containers cups by 2021.
- Make packaging producers pay for collection and disposal of street bin waste and litter by 2024. Currently in Ireland, producers pay among the lowest rates in Europe for cleaning up waste.
- Mandating a 90% collection rate for plastic drinks bottles by 2029. For Ireland to achieve this target, we are campaigning for the introduction of a deposit return scheme for separate collection of plastic bottles. Currently, all on-the-go waste in Ireland goes into the general waste stream which ends up in landfill or incineration.
- Redesign of plastic bottles where the cap is attached to the bottle, to ensure the cap is not lost into the environment.
- Requiring all PET bottles are made from 30% recycled plastic material by 2030 to reduce the demand for virgin (new) plastic material.
The SUP Directive also encourages the increase of reuse and recycling.
The EU Plastic Strategy also sets a 55% recycling rate for all plastic packaging by 2030 and all plastic packaging must be easily recyclable by 2030. But we can't recycle our way out of the plastic and waste crisis, so we strongly promote the move towards reuse wherever possible.
Just like the plastic bag tax, the best way of getting both consumers and producers to change is to provide economic incentives. Sick of Plastic have been campaigning for the introduction of a levy on single use coffee cups, this should be extended to all single use food containers and bags to make sure targets are met.
A levy should apply to both plastic and compostable alternatives. We have finite resources on this planet, and our natural environment is not compatible with the rate at which we are producing, consuming and creating waste.
This is great news, but our job is not done. We all need to keep the pressure on to ensure Ireland meets these targets for plastic reduction.
Three actions to help Break Free From Plastic:
- Shop and Drop - protest excessive plastic every time you shop by leaving unwanted plastic packaging behind. Join others in your area, and take action together!
- Tell your supermarket you want #Loose4Less! Loose fruit / veg is generally more expensive than packaged in plastic. Take a photo of loose verses packaged produce to compare prices. Post your photo on social media and tag your supermarket. If you don't use social media, send us your photos and we'll post them for you.
- Sign and share our petition to make sure government gets to work quickly to meet EU targets.
Let's keep going!