Ireland’s circular economy law targets illegal dumping and disposable cups

The Circular Economy Act makes it possible to introduce taxes on ‘all single-use packaging’, while giving the local government the power to deploy cameras to tackle landfill and litter.

A new law has been signed that aims to move Ireland towards a circular economy and introduce new measures to tackle litter.

The Circular Economy and Miscellaneous Services Act aims to phase out a range of single-use products over time while promoting activities that minimize the use of waste and resources in order to preserve materials for as long as possible. to keep active.

Environment, Climate and Communications Minister Eamon Ryan, TD, said it is possible to move away from single-use and “disposable materials and goods” through economic incentives and smarter regulations.

“We need to rethink the way we interact with the goods and materials we use every day if we want to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, because 45 percent of those emissions come from the production of those goods and materials.”

One of the first goals of the law is to make Ireland one of the first countries in the world to eliminate the use of disposable coffee cups. It is estimated that approximately 200 million of these cups are sent to landfill or incineration each year in Ireland.

Later this year, these cups will be banned for sit-in customers in cafes and restaurants. There are also plans to introduce a levy on disposable cups for takeaway coffee cups, similar to the existing Plastic Bag Levy. The new law lays the foundation for the introduction of levies on “all one-way packaging”.

The Circular Economy Act also focuses on waste enforcement, empowering local authorities to use CCTV to deter illegal dumping and littering, to help deter activities such as “gratuities”.

“The law empowers local authorities to responsibly use CCTV and other recording technologies to address illegal dumping and littering in local communities, but does so in a way that includes very strong privacy safeguards and is fully compliant with law enforcement. data protection,” said Secretary of State Ossian Smyth, TD.

The law also tackles fossil fuels as it puts an end to the issuing of new licenses for the exploration and extraction of coal, lignite and oil shale.

Preliminary figures released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) showed that greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland increased by almost 5 percent last year and rose above pre-Covid levels.

The EPA noted that this increase is largely due to the energy industry sector, which tripled its oil and gas use for power generation last year.

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