Yay, no more single-use packaging! But wait, what’s the alternative? And who’s going to pay for it?

VOICE is delighted to say that Ireland will soon introduce levies on single-use packaging items. It will start with disposable cups but one day all single-use packaging like salad boxes, pizza boxes and takeaway containers will have a levy applied to them.

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And for good reasons too. Less single-use packaging means less litter(think of all the takeaway boxes and coffee cups spilling out over the tops of bins). It also means we use fewer resources as we aren’t throwing away all that material and it means less transport of goods; so, less pollution.

This is really important, Ireland has the highest packaging waste per person in Europe. We have to find a solution, a solution that works for customers, businesses and the planet.

Ireland’s first steps away from single-use packaging will start with a small levy on takeaway cups. We will be the first country in the world to do this.

The levy on disposable cups (or latte levy as it’s been called) has been criticized by a few industry heads, however, levies work. They make businesses think along the same lines. When this happens we get joined-up thinking and joined-up solutions that benefit industry, customers and the planet; solutions such as this.

Instead of businesses figuring out reusable packaging systems alone and on an ad hoc basis, there is a way for businesses to work together.  Supported by Dublin City Council, Eastern Midlands Waste Region (EMWR) and Canada Life Reinsurance, a groundbreaking reusable packaging pilot will be rolled out in St Anne’s Park, Bull Island, and surrounding areas in Dublin 3 and 5.

All types of packaging

Very simply, customers of participating cafés and restaurants in North Co. Dublin can order takeaway coffee and soups, as well as several other food items, in specially produced packaging, which can be reused again and again, reducing the number of single-use containers in circulation.

This is free for customers and for businesses

Customers will not incur a cost for this packaging as long as it is dropped back and scanned at another participating business or at one of their state-of-the-art reverse vending machines. This will be controlled on the VYTAL reuse system; a state-of-the-art app, available now to download.

We caught up with Michelle Moloughney, owner of Olive’s Room in St. Anne’s park and co-founder of VYTAL Ireland and asked her why she felt compelled to spearhead the reuse revolution with this pilot.

“I want to move away from single-use packaging. Our involvement in food service gives us insight into the devastating impact that our existing system of consumption has on our planet, this has driven our interest in solving the problem of takeaway and supermarket packaging”, Michelle said. “Insights from VOICE Ireland’s  ‘Conscious Cup Campaign’, and from the EPA’s waste statistics, provided the initial impetus for us to find and deliver a technological platform for reuse in Ireland”.

We think this project is a perfect example of a true public-private partnership, with stakeholders working together to achieve our vision: a society where reusable packaging is the norm”.

A shift to reuse requires a significant systemic change with buy-in from all sectors of the community. If successful this pilot can give us a roadmap by which other businesses and communities can follow. It will remove the burden from individual business owners and customers and instead provide a solution that entire communities can support.

If you would like to support this initiative, just follow Michelle’s lead “you can support this initiative by downloading the VyTAL app and if you have a favourite café or takeaway, please tell them about Vytal”!


Follow: @Vytal_ie, @olivesroomtearoom, @loveclontarf, #usemebabyonemoretime, #choosetoreuse

Website: vytalireland.ie