Fast fashion, cigarette butts, and recycling are firmly in the Government’s sights under a “radical” new waste strategy.
So-called fast fashion — clothes commonly produced in the developing world enabling its sale at cut-cost prices — has seen the amount of clothes sold across the world quadruple over the past two decades.
It is now seen as one of the key threats to the earth’s climate, not least due to the environmentally damaging microbeads routinely found in low-quality, disposable clothes and given more than half of fast fashion is disposed of within 12 months.
While Environment Minister Richard Bruton has said he intends to focus on fast fashion, cigarette butts, and plastic in an effort to tackle Ireland’s poor record on waste management, it is not clear what form the action against such clothing will take.
“I am determined to address how we manage our waste as part of the Climate Action Plan. We must radically change our wasteful use of precious resources which damages our climate and our environment and compromises our future,” he said, adding that plastic and food waste, single-use habits, poor waste separation, and illegal dumping would all be “key targets”.
All told, 75 measures have been identified which Mr Bruton said can be “quickly implemented”.
They include the enforcement of existing rules, the encouragement of waste reduction targets, and higher fees for difficult to recycle packaging.
Mr Bruton said consideration would be given to the introduction of mandatory brown bin collections, the banning of bulky waste from landfill, the placement of the cost of cigarette waste clean up on the tobacco industry, and the expansion of the kinds of waste permitted in a green bin.
Private business will also feel the scrutiny of increased regulation, the minister said, in order to improve the levels of waste recycling.
Other initiatives will include better labelling for recycled goods, clearer information on what goes in each bin, measures to dramatically reduce food waste, and incentivising the use of recycled materials in the construction industry.
He added that an advisory group — comprising representatives from environmental bodies, industry and the regulatory sector — will be established to aid in the formulation of the new policy.