The announcement today of the publication of the Circular Economy Bill puts Ireland in a leadership position in Europe, strengthens the role and value of the circular economy at Government level and will positively impact citizens and businesses in their everyday lives.

Importantly, the Bill introduces one of the first national targets in the EU for the reuse of goods, which will require second-hand products like clothing, furniture and other items to become more available and prevalent in the procurement and in our everyday consumption choices.

Other key measures include provision for future levies or bans on single-use items, starting with a 20c levy on disposable coffee cups to encourage people to change their behaviour by using keep/reusable cups. The Bill also provides for future levies and/or bans on single-use containers, packaging and plastic bags.

Today’s announcement is particularly timely because it coincides with the publication of an important package of new circular economy measures from the European Commission. This includes interventions to improve the design of products and services through broadened Ecodesign regulations, a new Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles that aims to improve the design of clothing, crackdown on greenwashing and give a boost to sustainably made textiles and finally, measures to improve the environmental and climate performance of construction products.

These combined efforts at European and national level to drive circularity, will provide the necessary options to make the right choices easier, cheaper and more widely available, while also creating jobs throughout the country and supporting local economic development.