Should a deposit system be introduced on bottles and cans in Ireland?
Years ago in Ireland there was a scheme in place where a deposit was paid on bottles in Ireland. Sadly this was done away with (when I can’t remember). But when you see the amount of single use plastic bottles and cans thrown away it might be time to reconsider going back to deposits again.
According to a web post from www.mywaste.ie dated May 18th 2018 “Over the last 3 years Ireland has recycled enough plastic to fill the Aviva Stadium – but this is just 35% of the country’s total plastic waste”.
“Ireland is currently recycling just 35% of its plastic waste and we can definitely improve on this. By recycling better we will not only reduce the need for incineration and landfill, we will also reduce the need for additional raw material extraction as more material will be available for reprocessing and reuse”, the post continues. (full article can be read at http://bit.ly/2C5kT63 )
According to an Irish Times article dated April 21st 2018, “Ireland is the top producer of plastic waste in Europe; generating an average of 61kgs per person every year – almost double what the UK produces”.
“30 per cent of the EU’s plastic is recycled (the equivalent figure in Ireland is 34 per cent); 39 per cent is incinerated, 31 per cent goes to landfills”. (See full article at https://bit.ly/2AcEWjl )
There are plenty of tips out there on how to recycle (we have written about it too https://bit.ly/2GtCyX8 ) but an extra effort has to be made. With as much as 31% of all plastics going to landfill we have to do more!
In a statement from “Moving Ireland into the new plastics economy- EPA conference considers the challenge of plastics for Ireland” on the EPA website (https://bit.ly/2IBfKs3 ) Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Seán Canney, said:
“We need to take stock of our relationship with plastic. We must start to make informed choices about how we use plastic so that it can enhance our lives, not choke the environment. The Government will start by tackling our use of single-use plastics – we want to make Ireland a leader in the transformation that is required, not a follower. We welcome the recent progress made at EU level and my officials are currently working on the changes that will be needed when the legislation is agreed.”
Ms Almut Reichel, European Environment Agency and a speaker at the conference, said,
“The plastics economy will need a fundamental reconfiguration if we want to make it truly circular. A little more recycling will not be enough – we also need to redesign the products and plastics materials, remove hazardous substances from plastics, prevent plastics from entering the environment and make the whole plastics chain more resource-efficient.”
So it seems that we’re all in agreement that something has to be done when it comes to plastic and single use plastics and there are many pubs and restaurants using reusable straws for example but there are still all too many still using plastic cutlery and one use cups, plates etc.
We can all do our bit and as individuals we can certainly help but we need a national effort too. A deposit on bottles and cans could help.