In 2002, Ireland introduced the plastic bag levy. We were the first country to impose this tax and it resulted in a 90% drop in the use of plastic bags around the country with 1,000,000,000 fewer plastic bags being used. Since then, the not-for-profit organisation ‘Friends of the Earth Ireland’ have been campaigning to further reduce Ireland’s plastic use with their ‘Sick of Plastic’ petition.
Single-use plastic is now one of the biggest issues facing the environment. Back in October 2018 Lidl announced its plans to scrap single use plastic from their stores in a bid to help save the environment. Similarly, Supervalu stores around Ireland have pledged to reduce the single use plastic in all of their ‘own brand’ items by 2025, introducing compostable produce bags to replace them. It’s time to get local supermarkets all around Ireland to join the plastic free revolution.
In a blog post by ‘Friends of the Earth’ it states that 1 lorry-load of plastic is dumped into our oceans every minute. Meaning that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. Besides the danger to sea life, single-use plastic is effecting people in unthinkable ways. Fish are digesting plastic and thus are transferring the deadly toxins to those who eat it. In February 2018, the Irish Times published a study that found “over 70% of deep-sea fish have ingested plastic”.
There is no facility in Ireland for recycling soft or single-use plastic, therefore anything we buy in the supermarket that is wrapped or in soft plastic packaging will ultimately be dumped into an incinerator or will end up in a landfill, causing irreversible damage to the environment. There is still time to ensure a better future by implementing more sustainable materials in place of unnecessary plastic packaging.
The Circular caught up with Claudia Tormey, Supporter Relations Manager for ‘Friends of the Earth Ireland’, who stated that “Ireland is at its peak plastic use at the moment, which has been a huge problem over the last 10 – 15 years. Plastic is actually a valuable commodity which can be turned into other things. Introducing a levy on single-use plastic would show its value to customers around Ireland. If we implemented a similar action to the one we had with glass bottles in the past, customers could bring their plastic back to supermarkets to be properly recycled and receive their tax back.”
“In April we will be running a campaign where we will be mobilising people to create local groups with ChangeEx who will gather information about the changes being made locally and can present the petition to supermarkets in their area. By doing this we can see what supermarkets have done so far to improve their plastic use and what they plan to do in future. This will show us who is doing the most work and the least work.”
“One of the main ways that people can get involved around Ireland is to sign our petition, create a group in their local area with ChangEx, and join the action against soft and single use plastic with the upcoming campaign on April 13th. ”
If you want to join forces with Friends of the Earth in the fight against single-use plastic in Irish supermarkets you can sign the petition here.