Latest: Green Party's waste reduction bill receives support from Labour Party

Update 6pm: Labour leader Brendan Howlin TD, has today announced that the Labour Party will co-sponsor the Green Party’s Waste Reduction Bill, and will debate the legislation on Tuesday.

The Bill would see non-biodegradable coffee cups banned from 2020, and introduce a deposit and refund scheme for closed beverage containers.

"Labour is happy to co-sponsor this important legislation from our progressive colleagues in the Green Party because it makes sense," said Deputy Howlin

"The Waste Reduction Bill will put in place a deposit and refund scheme for cans and bottles, which is already standard practice across many EU countries, and will ban coffee cups that can’t be composted.

"For too long the Government has dragged its feet on the environment, promising to act but so far, delivering nothing. Look no further than their draft climate mitigation plan which was universally rubbished, and so far we have seen no improvement to that draft.

"When faced with Government inaction on this scale, it is important that progressive voices unite in common cause. Over the past few months for example, both Labour and the Greens also published Bills to ban microbeads."

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan TD welcomed the move.

"We want to help householders lower their waste bills by reducing the amount of waste materials at source. The implementation of a deposit refund scheme and the ban of plastic cups will take a few years and will have to be cleverly integrated into the ex isting Repak recycling system," he said.

"We are convinced this can be done in a way which increases recycling, reduces litter, saves the householder money and wins public support for protecting our environment.

"In Ireland we are producing in the region of 210,000 tonnes of plastic per year. The most recent EPA Waste Packaging Statistics for Ireland 2013, states only 40% of plastic packaging is recycled and according to the National Waste Report in 2011, at least 52.5% of all plastic packaging waste in Ireland went straight to landfill. This awful waste has to stop," concluded Deputy Ryan.

Earlier: Opposition TDs have been accused of "crocodile tears" after their latest complaints about the proposed bin charges.

It comes after People Before Profit demanded clarity on exactly what kind of new charges might take effect from the end of September. Mr Varadkar has said the new regime will be gradually phased in over a period of 15 months from September.

TD Brid Smith said bin providers did not fear the Government's proposed watchdog, and said councils should take back running a waste-collection service.

People Before Profit have also demanded clarity on what charges might kick in, only to be criticised for missing a Dáil vote on the issue earlier this week.

Minister Richard Bruton countered that the TDs like Brid Smith were missing from the Dáil chamber when the plans were being explained.

He said: "You were marked absent when decisions were being made and the position was being explained. It's crocodile tears to be shedding now when you don’t bother to do your responsibility to deal with these issues (when they are being decided)."

Brid Smith said she had mistakenly thought the vote would not take place until today.

Richrd Bruton also said the reason local authorities were no longer running waste-collection services was because left-wing parties had told people not to pay, and refused to allow increases in charges.

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