Watch: Eamon Ryan says 'we are drowning in plastic' as he unpacks bag of rubbish in Dáil

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he would be open to environmental measures including giving people money back for returning used plastic bottles, writes Elaine Loughlin, Political Reporter.

Green party leader Eamon Ryan has called on the Government to do more to protect the environment including banning plastic coffee cups.

It comes as the Government presses ahead with the controversial introduction of a pay-by-weight system for refuse.

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil this afternoon that he wants to make it "easier for people to do the right thing or do the right choices" when it comes to protecting the environment and dealing with waste.

Mr Ryan caused disruption in the Dáil when he produced a number of items including an empty bottle of water, a plastic sandwich container, a used coffee cup and some plastic food packaging.

"We are drowning in plastic," Mr Ryan said after being cautioned by the Leas Ceann Comhairle for bringing the items into the chamber.

Mr Ryan said that 150 million tonnes of plastic is now in our seas and we are adding the equivalent of a dump truck a minute to this.

He suggested that a deposit scheme on plastic bottles be introduced which would see around 10c back on every bottle that is returned for recycling.

He said that in countries where such systems have been introduced recycling has gone up by 90%.

Mr Ryan also pointed to take-away coffee cups, which he said France are banning by 2020.

The Taoiseach said that Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten was working on a number of measures including placing large-scale recycling bins outside supermarkets, to allow people dispose of excess packing.

He said this would make supermarkets and manufacturers "think twice" if the packaging goes straight back to them without even reaching a person's home.

Mr Varadkar added that he is open to any idea that will reduce waste.

More in this Section

Man dies in crash between car and motorbike in Co CorkMan dies in crash between car and motorbike in Co Cork

No winner of Lotto jackpot but someone is €1m richerNo winner of Lotto jackpot but someone is €1m richer

Hundreds protest in Cork city against closure of An Post mail centreHundreds protest in Cork city against closure of An Post mail centre

Loyalist flute band plays in PortrushLoyalist flute band plays in Portrush


Lifestyle

Javier Cercas’s new novel, ‘Lord of All the Dead’, is as preoccupied with the Spanish Civil War, the nature of heroism, and the distortions of history as his most famous, ‘Soldiers of Salamis’, says Alannah Hopkin .Book Review: Lord of All the Dead; Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas

The Irish National Stud and Gardens, Kildare, in association with ISNA, holds its first plant fair on Saturday, August 10, from 11am to 4pm. Admission €5, which will allow reduced entry into the Japanese Gardens.Gardeners' guide to what's on in Munster and beyond

What do you recommend for wasp stings? My three-year-old got a sting on his neck last week and was very distressed. I want to have a remedy on hand for future emergencies.My three-year-old got a bee sting. Is there a remedy?

A new study says feeding at the breast is better for baby than using expressed milk. Is it time mothers reconsidered their use of breast pumps, asks Sharon Ní Chonchúir.Best for baby? Pumped breastmilk under the microscope

More From The Irish Examiner