January 23, 2019

Supporting the EU Ban on Single-Use Plastic

Governments throughout the European Union (EU) are backing the critically important initiative of the EU to ban single-use plastic. The EU Parliament voted overwhelmingly on 28th October 2018 for an EU-wide ban on single-use plastics such as straws, cutlery, cotton buds and balloon sticks that account for 70% of the waste found in oceans and on beaches.

After the vote, the EU’s environment commissioner Karmenu Vella said: “Today we are one step closer to eliminating the most problematic single-use plastic products in Europe,” The vote to ban single-use plastic was passed by 571 votes to 53 opposed.  That is only part of the story, now it’s the responsibility for us individually and collectively to support this critical initiative. 

Following the EU vote, Ireland passed legislation that all government departments and all public bodies including schools, have until the end of March 2019, to implement and comply with the EU legislation on single-use plastic.  From this date the purchase of single-use cups (coffee), straws and plastic cutlery for use within their offices will be prohibited. The move to ban plastic water bottles is still a challeng, due to the influence and resistance of the multi-national drinks companies

MIA Global Action was delighted to hear news of the EU legislation, as we have been deeply involved in the campaign to prohibit the sale of one-use plastic. In March 2018, we met with Eamonn Ryan, leader of the Green Party in Ireland to offer support for their effective, anti-plastic campaign. He shared other initiatives the Green Party is taking and was impressed with the resource we prepared: “The Journey Away from Plastic ‘, developed as a series for Lent, 2018.

Download the Lenten Series here

Eamonn Ryan was very supportive of our campaign, organised in collaboration with the ‘Future We Need’ (FWN) inter-religious group, to get the urgency of this critical environmental message out, not only in Ireland but also internationally.  The Mercy Family is collaborating and networking in each country to support the campaign to eliminate one-use plastic.  Eamonn believes that as a faith-based organisation, focussing on the “ethics and morals of protecting the environment for future generations” has a great impact.

Subsequently we collaborated further with the FWN group to take on the supermarket chains.  A letter from the group was sent to the CEO of six large European supermarket chains, praising them for their initiative to provide a plastic free aisle – no vegetables or fruit wrapped in cling film or plastic packaging - in their retail outlets. At the same time we urged them to support research into production of an alternative to plastic and to eliminate the use and sale of all one-use plastic from their supermarkets. The positive feedback we received from this campaign has been encouraging.  

Messages to: Denise Boyle fmdm - Team Leader MIA Global Action

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