The Environmental Pillar welcomed the proposals by officials in the Department of the Environment to Minister Coveney, to take measures to tackle the twin issues of litter and waste while also providing some extra revenue for the Environment Fund.
“By placing a cost on single use items we can encourage consumers and vendors to think about what will happen to the item when they are finished using it.” “We need to change the way that people think about ‘disposable’ packaging.” said Mindy O’Brien of VOICE, speaking on behalf of the Environmental Pillar. Adding the levy to the Environment Fund will ensure that the money generated by these measures will be used for environmental purposes and will be in line with the polluter pays principle.
Due to the success of the levy on material going to landfill – which has resulted is a large decrease in the use of landfills, and the decrease in the number of plastic bags purchased, the revenues to the Environment Fund have been falling. However the pressure on the fund is higher than ever. The Government has been looking for ways to increase the fund and to find ways to influence public behaviour towards reducing waste.
“Plastic bottles and containers are the largest volume of litter items we find in cleanups. Every beach in Ireland is littered with plastic bottles and containers, all of which could easily be recycled.” said Ms O’Brien.
The Environmental Pillar is delighted that some of its suggestions for tackling packaging waste are being considered. This levy will be an incentive for the use of compostable or biodegradable containers for fast food or take away foods. The Environmental Pillar has also called for a levy on aggregates to offset the environmental damage caused by their extraction. An Aggregate levy is already in operation in the UK.
The Environmental Pillar receives funding from the Environment Fund