The Mayor of Galway, Labour city councillor Niall McNelis, is demanding a ban on non-compostable coffee cups, following publication of a report by Recycling List Ireland, which found that 200 million coffee cups are thrown away in Ireland every year.
Mayor McNelis called the report an "an eye-opener" into the "worrying" levels of waste that cannot be recycled. He said the Government needs to "take steps" to phase out the use of all non-recyclable plastic completely.
The Labour Party has called for the introduction of a levy on takeaway coffee cups and is calling on the Government to consider implementing the Waste Reduction Bill which passed second stage in the Dáil in the summer.
A levy without an overall plan to ban non-compostable coffee cups lacks long-term vision from the Government," he said. Environment Minister Denis Naughten has contacted all supermarket CEOs asking them to cut down on non-recyclable plastic, a move the Mayor said was "welcome", but does "not go far enough to encourage the use of reducing our plastic usage".
The Mayor said consumers are changing their buying habits. "There has been a surge in sales of re-usable travel cups which shows people are changing their behaviour when it comes to takeaway coffee cups," he said. "People are becoming more conscious of the waste that paper cups create."
He also commended those coffee shops in Galway which have introduced biodegradable coffee cups and discounts for those who use reusable cups. “The European Union already has plans in train to ban the use of non-recyclable plastics by 2030," he said. "There is simply no need for non-recyclable plastic and Ireland, as an island nation, must show leadership."