To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his strategy for banning the purchase of single use plastics with regard to public contracts in which single use plastics are used; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Clare Daly.
On 3 January 2019, the Government decided that Government Departments would no longer purchase, directly or indirectly, single use plastic beverage cups, cutlery or straws. From 1 March 2019, this policy will also apply to all public bodies. Certain limited exemptions are in place for reasons of public health and hygiene.
Other aspects of the Government Decision include improving the way public bodies manage their resources such as water and energy, and materials such as paper and progressing Ireland’s implementation of green public procurement policy.
The decision on single use plastic items pre-empts a more wide-ranging EU legislative proposal on plastics, which is expected to be agreed shortly.
My department, working with the Office of Government Procurement, will roll out guidance and supports to public bodies to ensure they can comply with the Government Decision. It will be important, for instance, that public bodies switching away from single use plastic items prioritise re-usable alternatives ahead of non-plastic disposable items.