Article 18 of the EU Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste states the following: “Member States shall not impede the placing on the market of their territory of packaging which satisfies the provisions of this Directive”. Coffee cups and a range of other single use packaging fall under the definition of packaging for the purposes of this Directive. In this space, where it is not in my power to place an outright ban on non-compostable items, such as disposable cups, I am looking at other means of curbing their use.
The Deputy will be aware I recently announced that I am considering introducing a levy on disposable coffee cups in an attempt to effect environmental behavioural change and incentivise individuals to use their own cups on the go. While the policy in this regard is at a very early stage in the process, a levy such as this has proved very successful in the past in curbing the use of plastic bags.
In addition, I strongly welcome the European Commission adopting a strategy on plastics, on 16 January 2018, as part of our transition to a more circular economy. It will protect the environment from plastic pollution whilst fostering growth and innovation, turning a challenge into a positive agenda for Europe. Under the new plans, all plastic packaging on the EU market will be recyclable by 2030, the consumption of single-use plastics will be reduced and the intentional use of microplastics will be restricted. I will shortly be bringing this strategy to the attention of all Government departments and asking them to consider how they might contribute to meeting these ambitious goals.