Cork City Council has become the first local authority in the country to stop supplying single use disposable tea and coffee cups in their offices.
From next week staff will be encouraged to use reusable cups. Council workers are being asked to switch to reusable environmentally friendly “keep” cups. The cups will be supplied free of charge to employees.
The announcement comes amid a public movement away from disposable plastic. A number of coffee shops around the country already offer discounts to customers who bring their own takeaway cups.
Green Party representative in Cork North Central, Oliver Moran, says it is a small move but an important one.
“It won’t change the world in one go, but it shows what a new economy would be like. One that isn’t wasteful or throwaway. Local authorities have an important role in showing that to people and taking the lead.”
“We’d like to see the city council to do more. We’ve asked about the Lord Mayor driving an electric car, for example. And wouldn’t it be nice to see an official Lord Mayor’s bike as well? Individually these are all small things, but looked at in the whole you can see what a new economy would be like. And it’s a nice picture.”
The latest Eurostat figures show that Ireland is the top producer of plastic waste in the European Union, producing 61kg of disposable plastic per person, per year.
The Green Party have put forward a number of recent initiative to cut down on plastic waste. These include a deposit-return scheme on drinks bottles and a phasing out of all single-use, disposable plastic products by 2020.
Meanwhile, a new “latte levy” is being considered by the Government which would see an additional 10 to 15 cent added to the price of a coffee. The levy would be applied in a similar manner to the plastic bag levy. Two million disposable coffee cups are currently sent to landfill sites in Ireland every day.