Fine Gael crack down on waste & litter, promote biodiversity

26th January 2020 - Fine Gael Press Office

 

  • Urban tree planting & rewilding progamme
  • Beehives on public buildings to promote biodiversity
  • Crackdown on single use plastics, fast fashion, cigarette butts
  • Brown bin rollout to include apartment blocks

Within the first 100 days of entering government, Fine Gael will publish and begin implementing a new Waste Strategy to crack down on waste and litter, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton said today.

Minister Bruton revealed that, amongst these measures, Fine Gael will crackdown on single use plastics, abolish non-recyclable plastics, introduce mandatory brown bin collections – including in apartment blocks, ban bulky waste from landfill and ensure that tobacco companies bear the cost of cigarette butt clean ups.

Fine Gael in government will also put a focus on biodiversity. In addition to the measures outlined in the National Biodiversity Action Plan, we will put in place a rewilding programme in green public spaces, leading to bus stop shelters being covered with plants for example – and a specific urban tree planting initiative as part of the drive to plant 22 million trees (6,000 Croke Parks) each year. Beehives will also be installed on public buildings to promote biodiversity.

Minister Bruton was joined by General Election Candidate for Dublin Bay North, Senator Catherine Noone, and General Election candidate for Dublin Central, Deirdre Duffy.

Minister Bruton said:

“Fine Gael is determined to radically change how the country deals with waste. We are committing to publishing and beginning the implementation of a Waste Strategy to crack down on waste and litter within 100 days of entering government.

“Our plan will have a big impact so the actions will span a wide range of areas. For example, we are looking to introduce mandatory brown bin collections, expand the items allowed in the green bins and ban bulky waste from landfill.

“Fine Gael will ban single-use plastic plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks, cotton bud sticks, polystyrene cups and food containers.

“We’ll introduce fees on non-recyclable plastics, like on food packaging in supermarkets.

“Fine Gael is driven by the polluter pays principle so the tobacco industry will pay for the costs of cigarette butt clean up.

“We will also put a special focus on biodiversity. Bees are essential to our entire ecosystem, we will put in place a rewilding programme in green public places and a specific urban tree planting initiative.”

Senator Noone explained that Fine Gael will work with retailers and industry as well as consumers to promote a more sustainable and responsible culture of consumption. She said:

“We will put a major focus on poor practices in business where 70% of material dumped could be recycled. However, these sorts of measures will also play their part in the household sector where ambitious new targets are being set.

“Other actions include introducing measures to tackle fast fashion, better labelling for recyclable goods, and targets to ensure correct bins are used. We also want to provide clearer information on what goes into each bin, introduce measures to halve food waste, end the use of non-recyclable plastic, crack down on illegal dumping and incentivise the use of recycled materials in the construction industry.”

Deirdre Duffy explained that new and extended levies will form an important part of the plan. She said:

“Fine Gael will implement appropriate environmental levies to send a clear signal to industry that packaging use must be reduced and to help change consumer behaviour. All of the revenue raised from this will be ring-fenced into the Environment Fund and used for schemes aimed at preventing and reducing waste and that protect the environment.”

In particular, Fine Gael will:

  • Introduce a levy on disposable coffee cups, similar to that introduced on plastic bags, to discourage their use and encourage the use of ‘keep cups’
  • Increase the landfill levy by €5/ tonne
  • Introduce a €5/tonne Waste Recovery Levy
  • Increase the plastic bag levy to 25c
  • Introduce further levies on ‘medium weight plastic bag’, takeaway and food packaging.

Deirdre Duffy also stressed that the new Plan will be anchored in concrete targets. She said:

“As part of our new National Waste Plan, will set out detailed actions and timelines to deliver specific targets. The targets include recycling 70% of packaging waste, recycling 55% of plastic packaging waste, recycling 65% of municipal waste and reducing food waste by 50%.

“Fine Gael has already legislated for a ban on plastic microbeads used in cosmetics, cleansing products and detergents, which have a detrimental impact on marine fauna and wildlife.”

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