Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (35)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

35. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the status of the strategy on single use plastics; and the way the strategy has been affected by the pandemic, and changes in behaviour resulting from same. [8074/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, launched last September, sets out our national strategy for single use plastics and contains a range of ambitious measures for dealing with these items. The Plan details measures Ireland is taking under the Single Use Plastics Directive to prohibit certain items from being placed on the market. It also contains our commitment to introduce a Deposit and Return Scheme for plastic bottles and aluminium cans and to lead EU efforts on disposable coffee cups through a prohibition on the use of disposable cups for sit-in purposes, a latté levy and an eventual  ban on disposable coffee cups and cold drinks cups.

I am conscious that during the pandemic some businesses and individuals have moved away from reusable cups. However, international research has confirmed that re-usable cups are safe to use during Covid 19. A number of organisations, including the Conscious Cup Campaign, have provided guidance on how they can be used safely during current restrictions without compromising staff or customer safety. A list of cafes accepting reusables is available on the Conscious Cup Campaign website. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has also confirmed that the use of reusable cups and containers is permitted during the current restrictions.