As Ireland gears up for the launch of a new plastic recycling scheme, some have questioned whether it’s time to replace bottles and cans with reusable packaging.
The Government’s plan will see plastic bags, which are often more costly to recycle than plastic bottles and canister, recycled as a “waste-to-energy” source.
The plan is part of the Government’s ambitious green-growth strategy and will see a further £3.5bn earmarked for recycling and other recycling activities by 2020.
But some believe it’s not time to ditch the old plastic bags and cans.
Read more:Green Ireland’s plan to recycle plastic and other recyclables is in doubtThe plan’s launch on Tuesday is expected to highlight the Government will soon be implementing a national waste-to -energy scheme that will see recycled plastic and plastic products shipped back to Ireland.
“We’ve been doing a lot of research about what is a waste-product and what is not a waste product,” said Mr O’Reilly.
“It’s important we can come up with a solution that is cost effective, sustainable and just as environmentally friendly as any other plastic bag or can.”
But it may not be as simple as the Government promises.
In a paper released last month, the Irish Council of Social Services (ICSS) said it was concerned with the Government spending so much money on a scheme which may not result in a net reduction in the amount of plastic in Ireland’s waste stream.
It also raised concerns that the scheme may not actually be worth the investment.
“I think it’s important to look at how the scheme actually performs, whether it actually has any benefit, and that’s what I’m asking,” said Professor Dermot O’Leary, from the University of Ulster’s Environmental Policy Institute.
“What are the benefits of this and how do they compare to other options?”
I would say it’s certainly not as effective as the other alternatives we have.
“He also questioned whether the scheme could even be effective.”
If you think about all the things that can be recycled, including things like paper, that’s about as much as you could possibly use, especially as a plastic bag and canner,” he said.”
So, if you are going to go to the extent of recycling all plastic, it may be as much waste as a bottle of beer.
“In addition to the recycling scheme being seen as a waste, it could be damaging to the environment.”
The main environmental benefits of the scheme are that it’s very green, so it’s a lot cheaper to do and that it makes the environment feel cleaner,” Professor O’Kelly said.
But Professor O-Kelly said there were also benefits to the scheme as it can also reduce landfill and carbon emissions.”
One of the biggest environmental benefits is the reduction of landfill emissions,” he explained.”
This is because of the waste that is generated by the recycling of plastic and paper, and there is a very low rate of landfill releases in the waste stream.
“Mr O’Reillys concerns about the scheme’s sustainability also came up at the launch.”
Why should we have to waste all our precious plastic bottles when we can just throw them in the bin and use our new disposable plastic?” he said, referring to the plastic waste produced by the new scheme.”
You could recycle your old plastic bottle for the same price as a new bottle of wine.
“The Government has also faced criticism over the scale of its plan, with some saying it’s too expensive.”
There’s a huge amount of waste, including plastic, in the recycling system, so how can you get the best possible value for the money,” said Ms O’Connor.”
People need to know that there’s a cost and a benefit to recycling.
“Topics:environment,business-economics-and-finance,environmental-policy,consumer-protection,environment,public-sector,health,government-and,parliament,government,offbeat,francis,northern-irelandFirst posted February 06, 2020 21:57:21Contact Lisa McBride