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  1. ITV Report

Restaurants could be fined for giving customers plastic straws

Restaurants and bars could be fined for providing plastic straws to customers after single-use plastics are banned, Environment Minister Richard Bruton has said.

Mr Bruton said the Government will follow through on an EU directive to ban single-use plastics by 2021.

Asked what penalties restaurants or bars that still provide single-use plastic straws to customers would face, Mr Bruton said: “Ultimately they will get fined but the reality is consumers will apply self-policing of these things.

“I think people realise very quickly that if places are offering plastic straws when it is illegal to do so, their customer base will tell them very quickly and there are alternatives they can use that are compostible.

“We want to get away as much as possible from anything that is single use. Moving from something that is single use to compostible is an improvement but really you want keep-cups and the sort of approach you are seeing more consumers adopt.”

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Mr Bruton met waste collectors, household representative groups and local authorities on Monday to see how they can deliver the targets set out in the Climate Action Plan.

The Government is to bring forward plans that will include putting fees on non-recyclable plastics and cutting dependence on landfill.

Mr Bruton said companies that manufacture packaging must take responsibility to ensure their packaging is recyclable, and Ireland must move away from being a “disposable society”.

He said manufacturers would be fined for making packaging that is difficult for consumers to recycle.

“When you create packaging that is mixed, it is difficult for the waste companies to separate, and it ends up either going to landfill or being incinerated.

“We don’t want to see valuable plastics ending up that way so we will put in place fees that are related to the damage that those bad packaging plans are imposing.

“It would make better business sense for companies to avoid these fees so there will be a compulsion by the end of 2030 that they will not be allowed to use those materials.”