Dismay over decision not to proceed with packaging levy on bottles, cans and cartons
The Environmental Pillar, a coalition of 26 national environmental groups, is ‘extremely disappointed’
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said the introduction of a levy ‘is likely to generate a number of costs – to the legislative process, to public administration, to business – with few identifiable additional environmental benefits’.
Environmental groups have reacted with dismay to Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan’s decision not to introduce a packaging levy “at this time” on bottles, cans and cartons.
The Environmental Pillar, a coalition of 26 national environmental groups, said it was “extremely disappointed” that the Minister was not implementing this commitment in the Fine Gael-Labour Programme for Government.
Mr Hogan said the main reason for his decision was that the introduction of a levy “is likely to generate a number of costs – to the legislative process, to public administration, to business – with few identifiable additional environmental benefits”.
But Mindy O’Brien, the spokeswoman for the Environmental Pillar, said a “properly constructed packaging levy won’t increase costs to business. It will shift industry focus towards more reusable packaging and save money for many businesses which pay to dispose of packaging”.
She said a deposit-and-return system for drinks containers was “the only way to change public behaviour” as shown by Sweden, Germany, Finland and the Netherlands, where re-use rates of between 84 per cent and 95 per cent had been achieved. “Ireland’s recycling rate for Pet [polyethylene ter- ephthalate] bottles is an abysmal 29 per cent and our aluminium can recycling is just over 50 per cent,” Ms O’Brien said, adding that the 2012 Coastwatch survey had found plastic bottles made up 83 per cent of marine litter.
Friends of the Irish Environment said consideration should be given to extending the levy on plastic supermarket bags to imposing a levy on paper bags. “This is now standard practice elsewhere,” it said.