14 November 2019
By Bryan Smyth
Cork North West Fine Gael General Election candidate Councillor John Paul O’Shea has welcomed plans to put proposed environmental levies, designed to encourage more sustainable behaviour, to public consultation.
The proposed levies were announced by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD, on Wednesday, November 6th.
The proposed first phase of levies is as follows:
- An increase to the existing Plastic Bag Levy from the current rate of 22c to 25c
- Expanding the Plastic Bag levy to include medium weight plastic bags (True ‘bag for life’ bags will remain exempt)
- A Waste Recovery Levy at €5 a tonne. This would apply to the three key waste recovery options – landfill, incineration and export
- An increase to the Landfill Levy by €5 per tonne to €80 per tonne
- A levy on disposable cups – the rate is to be determined following market research but likely to be 10c, 15c or 25c
Commenting on the proposed levies, Cllr. O’Shea said: “How we use and dispose of our resources accounts for 60% of our emissions as a country, so it is clear how important it is that we as a country become more conscious of the impact we are having by the daily choice we make.”
Cllr. O’Shea said sustainable alternatives exist for all the items that are being proposed for new levies and that the purpose is to shift behaviour towards the use of these alternatives.
This action is a key action under the Government’s Climate Action Plan, the government’s plan to ensure we meet our 2030 climate commitments, putting us on a trajectory to be net zero by 2050.
It is also proposed to develop a second phase of levies, to come into effect from 2022, which would focus on take away food containers, and a third phase which will address food packaging in retail outlets including for bakery items, fruit, vegetables etc. The exact scope and rate of such levies is to be developed but these items will also be included in the consultation being announced today.
All revenue raised from these measures will go into the Environment Fund and be reinvested in environmental action, such as tackling waste blackspots and litter community programmes such as the National Spring Clean initiative, Tidy Towns and the development of community areas and gardens.
Minister Bruton said: “Climate disruption is the biggest challenge facing this generation. A tonne of food wasted or single use packaging tipped into a landfill, results in the 6 tonnes of carbon which it took to make that food or packaging, completely lost to the world. Even if such waste is not avoided, residual waste could be halved if businesses and homes put things in the right bin.
“These changes, we hope, will make people more conscious of this and will encourage people to make small changes such as bringing their own bags shopping, or their own cup when going for a coffee, that can make a difference. All of the funds collected will go back into environmental action. Industry too will be expected to make changes and we will be designing levies on food packaging and takeaway containers.”
The Minister is now opening a consultation on the above proposals, which will remain open until December 20th 2019. Interested parties are welcome to submit, the consultation opened at 09:00, November 6th.