Companies need to step up to the plate and tackle excess packaging ahead of a planned crackdown on producers of unnecessary plastic waste, a Fine Gael General Election candidate, Cllr. Emer Higgins, has said.
Under the Climate Action Plan the Government has pledged to incentivise producers of waste, especially packaging, to prevent waste and promote recyclable materials.
Cllr. Emer Higgins explained, "A pilot ‘eco modulation fees’ scheme is to be rolled out later this year.
This will essentially incentivize producers who reduce packaging and recyclable materials and penalise those who don’t.
“With this welcome move very much in sight now is the time for companies to take the initiative and answer the calls from the public to cut out wasteful packaging," continued Higgins.
“We have seen a real demand from people for companies to stamp out unnecessary use of packaging, particularly soft plastic which can’t be recycled here in Ireland.
“We see it on fruit and vegetables, on confectionery and other consumer products.
“The response to this new demand from customers has been excellent from some quarters, and less so in others.
"For example in Clondalkin we've small shops like Tony and Aideen's (Harry's) leading the way by using minimal plastic and packaging. This is really attractive to a lot of consumers," said Cllr. Emer Higgins.
“We have also seen supermarkets trial recycling bins in store, coffee shops providing a discount to those who use re-useable cups and other novel ideas. But it is time for a more sustained effort from companies and businesses of all types to stamp out wasteful packaging.
“By getting on top of it now, companies will be ahead of the game when the Government introduces the full eco-modulation fees in 2021.
“Fine Gael has outlined a path to tackle climate breakdown that looks to protect jobs and support the creation of new jobs in this sector.
“Companies have a responsibility to the planet and their customers to pursue sensible and sustainable packaging solutions," concluded Emer Higgins.