There are clear steps that Ministers, TDs and Supermarkets can take to cut plastic waste. If we campaign hard, 2018 can be the year we turn the tide on plastic pollution
We are all sick of plastic.
Everyday in Ireland we use more than 500,000 plastic-lined coffee cups that can't be recycled, and 2.5 million plastic bottles that don't get recycled, and supermarkets foist more and more packaging on us. Meanwhile, micro-plastics are making the fish we eat sick, and if we keep going the way we are, plastic waste will outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050.
But there are solutions.
There is a Bill (draft law) under discussion in the Dáil and Seanad to introduce a 10c deposit on plastic bottles, which would be refunded when you bring the bottle back for recycling. In countries where they have a scheme like this recycling rates are as high as 98%. We had a deposit and refund scheme for glass bottles in the past. It's time to do it for plastic.
We know producers and retailers are lobbying hard *against* a deposit and return scheme because they say it would be inconvenient or too expensive. Independent research shows the scheme would cost about 1c per bottle. We need to show that people really want to see action on plastic and don't want supermarkets and big business dragging their heels.
The Bill would also ban or introduce a levy on single-use plastic items like plastic-lined take-away cups. A 15c "latte levy" as it has been described would encourage more and more people to bring their own cup to the coffee shop, like the Friends of the Earth KeepCup. Many coffee shops have joined the Conscious Cup Campaign and offer customers a discount, double loyalty points, or like coffeeangel do, make a donation to Friends of the Earth every time someone brings a reusable cup.
The Government has promised a separate ban on micro-plastics before the end of the 2018 but they have been slow to bring forward legislation to progress the opposition Bill that is waiting for a Dáil Committee to make time to consider it.
And we mustn't let Supermarkets off the hook. We need to ramp up the pressure on them to reduce plastic packaging. One proposal is for every supermarket to have a plastic-free aisle. But it won't happen unless customers demand. We are working with others to find a way for customers to send them a clear message. Help make it happen by signing this petition.