Local council plans push toward reusable coffee cups

Story by Adrian Cusack

Thursday, 7th March, 2019 1:30pm

Local council plans push toward reusable coffee cups

Westmeath County Council is planning to launch an initiative next month to encourage local cafes and shops to switch to reusable coffee cups. 

The scheme is designed to help cut down on the levels of littering and waste resulting from the sale of hundreds of thousands of singe-use coffee cups across Ireland every day. 

It is to be implemented by the council's Environmental Awareness Officer, in conjunction with local Tidy Towns groups. 

"It is intended that a discount on the price of the beverage would apply where reusable cups are used," the council said this week.

"It is considered that this type of initiative, in cooperation with retailers, would be most effective in reducing the consumption of disposable cups and their presence in the environment as litter."

The council was responding to a motion from Cllr John Dolan at Monday's monthly meeting of the Athlone Municipal District. 

Cllr Dolan had asked for a "pilot programme" to be funded "to subsidise the use of reusable coffee cups in Athlone."

The Fine Gael councillor said there was currently "a big push" to move away from disposable coffee cups.

"I was talking to a women who's involved with vending machines and I was told it's not unknown for the bigger shops to sell up to 2,000 of those cups in a day," said Cllr Dolan. 

He said the harm caused by plastic waste was currently in the spotlight and Westmeath County Council should be getting involved in helping to reduce it. 

"If we could take ownership of this issue in our district we could be seen as an 'eco' town," said Cllr Dolan. "This could be a first step towards that.

"At the end of the day, (the council) are the people who have to pick up these cups if they're thrown away, so this could save us money in the long run."

His motion was supported by the other local councillors. 

Cllr Michael O'Brien also had a motion at the meeting calling for the Athlone district to write to the Minister for the Environment to seek the introduction in Ireland of a bottle deposit return scheme. 

"I was in Berlin last year and I saw a scheme like this in action, and it was fantastic," he said. "We're dealing with litter issues all the time. This is something that works. 

"The Government were against introducing this in the past, but they should drop their opposition and move forward with it," he said.   


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