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Communities are fed up picking up plastic litter, ready to name and shame producers.

11 Sep 2019

Over the next two weeks, and to mark World Clean Up Day on September 21st, environmental organisations are inviting communities across the world to take part in a brand audit – it’s like a clean-up, but better.

It’s time producers take responsibility for the plastic waste they are dumping onto the planet.

Through this Brand Audit, data collected by ‘Break Free From Plastic’, a global network of organisations, will be used to name and shame producers who are creating the most waste.

Pressure will be put on governments to legislate for producer fees to be increased globally and to adopt more effective legislation to incentivise companies to adopt more sustainable packaging practices and to encourage consumers to reduce their use of single-use plastics and packaging.

One such legislative change that Irish environmental organisations are calling for is the adoption of a Deposit Refund Scheme (DRS) for drinks bottles and cans, which will place a value on these containers thus reducing significantly the number of bottles and cans littered.

Producer responsibility fees are in place to pay for the cost of collecting their packaging for recycling, be it from household recycling bins, bottle bins or civic amenity centres. However, none of their fees are used to collect or dispose of packaging from street bins or found littered in our communities.

Producers are not paying enough, and communities across the world are literally picking up the bill every time they pick up a Coca Cola or Nestle brand plastic wrapper littered on the ground.

Claudia Tormey from VOICE Ireland said:

“It’s become almost trendy to pick up litter, people are doing it while jogging and out sea swimming. Tourists are even doing it while on city tours! It’s not cool, and it’s not fair.”

Environmentalists are not saying people shouldn’t pick up litter, it’s up to all of us to do our bit to make sure our natural environment is clean and safe for wildlife. But it shouldn’t be up to the good will of people to clean up after companies that are putting too much plastic onto the market.

Mindy O'Brien from VOICE Ireland said:

“Producers across the world aren’t taking enough responsibility for the proper management of their packaging waste.”

“And nationally, companies must do more to finance street bin collections and litter clean-up costs. In Ireland, producers pay €89 for each tonne of plastic packaging placed on the market, among the lowest rates in Europe. In comparison, Belgium pays €199, France pays €238 and Netherlands pays €355.”

As members of Break Free From Plastic, Friends of the Earth and VOICE Ireland, are inviting Irish communities to get involved in this global initiative. Conduct a brand audit with your local clean up group, do it on your walk to work or on the school run. If you spot litter, don’t just pick it up – take a photo and document!

Break Free From Plastic have designed a toolkit with all the info and resources needed – it’s very straightforward. Visit https://www.breakfreefromplastic.org/brandaudittoolkit/ to find out more.

ENDS

For more information or to arrange interviews call

  • Mindy O’Brien, Coordinator VOICE Ireland, 087 289 3942
  • Claudia Tormey, Sick of Plastic Campaign Manager, Friends of the Earth, 087 976 7046

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