DLR could be first council to ban sale of single-use plastics

by Gary Ibbotson
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The sell and supply of single-use plastics could soon be banned in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown if a proposed by-law gets passed by the council.

The draft of the law, which was prepared by Fine Gael councillor Barry Ward proposes that businesses face fines of up to €500 if they sell or supply items such as plastic takeaway containers, coffee cup lids and bottles.

The proposal will go out for public consultation within the coming weeks.

Cllr Ward has called on these plastics to be replaced by biodegradable alternatives and if passed, the law would make Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown the first local authority to ban certain plastic items.

Cllr Ward said: “We know single-use plastics are a major problem.

“Here in Dun Laoghaire, we had an incident last year where a number of them were released into the sea by accident.

“Even the ordinary things that are given out by takeaways and retail establishments in the county often end up in the sea so it’s a major problem that has to be addressed.

“I drafted a by-law to help councillors actually take a step in reducing the amount of single-use plastics in circulation,” he said.

Green Party councillor for Blackrock, Seafra O Faolain says his party also supports the motion, although admits there may be “teething issues”.

“We welcome the proposal to ban single-use plastics and supported Cllr. Ward’s motion in the Council,” said O Faolain.

“As you know, it will go to public consultation which provides an opportunity to anyone with concerns about it to voice these and work together to reduce plastic waste.

“There may be teething issues, but ultimately it will be a positive move for businesses and the wider public.

“While it’s very encouraging for us to be taking the lead in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, measures like this need to be applied at a national level in order to be fully effective.

“The outgoing government has blocked our 2017 Waste Reduction Bill which would supersede this Bye-Law both in geographical scope and in its impact on reducing plastic pollution, as it proposes not just a ban, but also a deposit-return scheme on containers such as plastic, glass and tin.

“If this had not been blocked in 2017, Ireland would have been free from single-use plastics since the start of 2020.”

In May last year, the European Council announced it will be banning certain single-use plastics, such as straws, cutlery and plates by 2021.

The Council said it aims to phase out the use of these items and to introduce environmentally friendly alternatives, where possible.

Products that cannot be easily phased out will be forced to have limited use with manufacturers given “clean-up commitments”.

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