Our Sick of Plastic campaign – we’re making progress on our demands!
Posted by Claudia Tormey on March 09, 2021 at 11:04 AM
Sick of Plastic is a joint campaign, hosted by Friends of the Earth and VOICE Ireland. We launched our first Sick of Plastic petition in 2018. That petition had a lot of demands that will soon become a reality, thanks to all of your campaigning and support!
Since the campaign began, we have been calling on the government and industry to take action on the following:
> Supermarkets reduce the amount of plastic packaging they use.
> Supermarkets to offer more loose produce at competitive prices.
> A deposit and return scheme for plastic & glass bottles and cans.
> A tax on take-away cups & containers, to encourage reusable options.
> A ban on single-use plastic items like straws and cutlery.
> Commercial entities to move towards reusable options rather than switching to compostable items, which are still single-use.
Here’s an update on where we are now, three years on:
A Deposit Refund Scheme – we’re almost there!
Last year’s Programme for Government: Our Shared Future and the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy set out the Government’s commitment to introduce a Deposit and Return Scheme (DRS) for plastic bottles and aluminium cans. VOICE Ireland, our partners on this campaign, is launching a new DRS campaign that will advocate for the correct installation of a workable DRS. Unfortunately, glass is not being included - however Ireland already has very high recycling rates for glass. We will report back on DRS progress in due course!
A 'Latte Levy' - coming in 2022!
Ireland's Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy has committed to working "over time" towards the elimination of disposable coffee cups through the introduction of a “latte levy” in 2022. The plan is to trial the elimination of disposable coffee cups entirely in selected areas, introduce measures to ban their unnecessary use and to eventually place a full ban on disposable cups.
Move away from compostable - still struggling!
Compostable alternatives are becoming more popular to reduce plastic packaging. However, there is a lot of confusion as to what exactly qualifies as compostable and where it should go. If compostable cups for example are put in the wrong bin (general waste) they will produce climate damaging methane gas in landfill. If you do opt for compostable, make sure you dispose of it in an organic waste bin for industrial composting.
Sick of Plastic continues to demand action for the elimination of all single-use, and advocates for reuse wherever possible.
Encourage and reward the use of reusable items – main focus this year!
Sick of Plastic wants to see refill targets in all supermarkets and for supermarkets to welcome customers to bring their own containers for loose produce. As members of the Break Free From Plastic global network, Sick of Plastic is taking part in the #WeChooseReuse Campaign and will actively promote and celebrate shops and businesses around Ireland that offer Refill and Reuse options this year.
A ban on Single - Use Plastics – we’re almost there!
Ireland's Waste Action Plan aims to:
- Impose environmental levies on food containers
- Examine the prohibition of the use of disposable cold drinks cups at large scale events.
The EU’s plastic strategy will look to ban all single use plastic items, such as:
- cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks);
- cotton bud sticks;
- beverage stirrers;
- sticks to be attached to and to support balloons;
- food containers made of expanded polystyrene;
- products made from oxo-degradable plastic.
This ban will become law in the EU countries by 3 July 2021.
However, there is still a lot of discussions at the European Commission - especially on the interpretation of what defines plastics. Industry is pushing back – trying to get viscose and cellophane excluded from the directive.
If this happens, viscose wipes manufacturers could label their wipes as “plastic-free”. This is likely to lead to a shift in the market of wipes (and possibly sanitary products) towards this material. We know that wet wipes and tampons made of viscose and rayon both contribute similarly to blockages and ultimately to plastic pollution in our seas.
Ireland (through Minster Eamon Ryan) supports the inclusion of viscose and cellophane in the directive. Sick of Plastic applauds Minister Ryan and are asking that he puts pressure on his European counterparts to do the same.
Actions you can take with us to help further progress our demands!
Sick of Plastic Awards 2021
We are celebrating Ireland’s eco-warriors who are taking on the plastic crisis.
Who will you nominate?
Nominations open in May 2021 – winners announced Oct 2021. We’ll have more info on this soon. Follow Sick of Plastic on social media to keep in the loop on this and other events and actions. You can find Sick of Plastic on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Report excess plastic packaging
We are continuing to pressure industry to reduce plastics where possible. If you come across unnecessary plastic please take a photo and send it into us at email@example.com
Or take a photo and post it on social media and tag Sick of Plastic - we will contact businesses and retailers who use excessive packaging and question them about their plastic reductions goals.
Sign our petition!
Help us achieve our goals by adding your name to the Sick of Plastic petition and increasing the pressure on government and industry to Break Free From Plastic!! You can sign the petition here.