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Ireland set to become the world’s first nation to phase out single use disposable cups

Disposable coffee cups have become the bane of our lives. They litter our streets and countryside, and they take hundreds if not thousands of years to decompose naturally. Around the world there are concerted efforts to eradicate the use of these cups, but it has proven to a long, torturous road, but one country is leading the world in efforts to reduce their use with an aim to eliminate them completely: Ireland.

The Irish aim to become the first country in the world to phase out single-use products such as coffee cups after approving The Circular Economy Bill in the Irish Parliament. Ireland currently uses around 200 million disposable coffee cups annually with nearly 500,000 daily arriving at landfill sites or incinerators.

The Circular Economy Bill will see a mandatory €0.20 ($0.22) charge for disposable cup use, with a complete ban introduced for sit-in customers in cafés and restaurants being introduced over the coming months. According to the to the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, 45% of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the manufacture of materials associated with single-use products and their production.

Ireland, an EU member state has already signed up to the European Union’s Single-Use Plastics Directive which had mandated that member states must collect 90 per cent of all plastic beverage containers by the end of this decade. The Irish move comes just a month before a similar scheme in South Korea comes into force when a mandatory refundable deposit for disposal cups will be introduced in June 2022.

Many High Street retailers are moving ahead with plans to change how they deliver their customer’s coffee. Starbucks will introduce across its 35,000+ stores a move away from disposable cups and Costa Coffee in the UK is trialling a reusable cup scheme in Glasgow which, if successful, is likely to be rolled out across their 2,700+ stores in the United Kingdom.

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