Saturday 24 February 2018

State bottles 'recycle for cash' proposal

Proposals for a deposit return scheme which would see households get 10 cents for every plastic bottle recycled are to be stalled by the Government amid fears it would have
massive cost implications. Stock Image: GETTY
Proposals for a deposit return scheme which would see households get 10 cents for every plastic bottle recycled are to be stalled by the Government amid fears it would have massive cost implications. Stock Image: GETTY
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Proposals for a deposit return scheme which would see households get 10 cents for every plastic bottle recycled are to be stalled by the Government amid fears it would have massive cost implications.

The Green Party plan, which would also ban unrecyclable take-away coffee cups, could come with a bill of €276m to set up and operate. However, Fianna Fáil supports the initiative "in principle" meaning the Government could be facing another Dáil defeat this week.

The Irish Independent understands Environment Minister Denis Naughten will today warn his Cabinet colleagues the Waste Reduction Bill 2017 would be open to significant abuse.

And he will argue the scheme would do little to address the issues raised during the recent controversy over bin charges.

Officials in the Department of Environment actually believe the idea could "significantly increase" Ireland's carbon footprint due to the duplication of collection infrastructure.

A spokesperson for the minister confirmed the "lack of any clarity about the potential costs on taxpayers, consumers or industry" has prompted him to ask for the Green Party motion to be subject to a 'timed and reasoned amendment' which will stall its progress through the Oireachtas until next January.

Denis Naughten. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Denis Naughten. Photo: Doug O'Connor

Business groups are heavily opposed to the proposals, with Ibec claiming the move to ban non-compostable tableware is "draconian, unrealistic and disproportionately burdensome on small retailers and food service outlets".

In a letter to the minister, Ibec said it would prefer to see a pragmatic approach taken "to assess innovative ways of reducing the prevalence of non-recyclable materials over the coming years".

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has said that recycling has jumped by 90pc in countries where similar schemes have been introduced.

Fianna Fáil's environment spokesman Timmy Dooley said he will recommend to the party's frontbench it backs the Green Party bill when it comes before the Dáil this week.

"In principle I'd support the bill but it will require engagement with industry stakeholders and others in the sector. There are also some issues on the timescale for implementation that would need to be addressed but that could be done at committee stage," he said.

Ireland rates highly when it comes to drink container recycling, with 86pc of glass being recycled. Some 84pc of plastic was recycled in 2015.

Irish Independent

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