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Boylan commends ‘important first step’ in ending single use plastic

10 October, 2018 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP, and negotiator on the EU Single Use Plastic Directive, Lynn Boylan has welcomed today’s vote at the Environment and Public Health Committee.

Speaking from Brussels, Ms Boylan said:

“Today’s vote is a major first step in getting an ambitious directive passed to tackle the huge problem of plastic waste.  As the only Irish MEP negotiating this important file, I am delighted that the target of 90% separate collection target for plastic bottles has been endorsed.

“We know plastic bottles are the number one cause of plastic waste found on our beaches. The Irish Government has repeatedly rejected introducing a return deposit scheme for plastic bottles, despite its proven efficacy in other EU countries.  This collection target rate will effectively leave the Government with no choice but to introduce such a system. 

“Today’s vote also added styrofoam food containers and very lightweight plastic bags to the list of items to be banned.

“I am also pleased that my proposals to include biodegradable plastics in the measures have been accepted.  Biodegradable plastics are often seen as the solution, but in fact they bring with them a whole array of problems from toxic substances, land use change, and an absence of biodegradability standards.  Instead of replacing one single use plastic item with a biodegradable plastic one, we need to change our behaviour from a throwaway culture to a more sustainable one.

“The report also calls for stronger producer responsibility, especially for wet wipes and sanitary items. Every year in Ireland alone, Irish Water and Local Authorities spend millions clearing blockages in pipes caused by the incorrect disposal of these items.  Producers will now be responsible for the cost of clean up, collection of waste, transport and treatment.  They will also be obliged to introduce proper product labelling advising consumers of how to dispose of the products and informing them that they contain plastic, something that many people are completely unaware of.

“Today’s vote at committee is an important first hurdle crossed. I hope that the Parliament, and especially my fellow Irish MEPs, give it their full support when it comes to Plenary in two weeks.” 

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