Ireland: Tobacco Companies Pay for Cleanup

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    Effective Jan. 1, tobacco companies will have to pay part of Ireland’s multimillion-euro street cleaning bills under new legislation driven by EU moves to cut plastic waste, reports The Irish Times.

    Cigarette butts account for half of all litter and are “the biggest litter scourge,” according to the National Litter Pollution Monitoring System.

    Beginning this year, tobacco companies will be liable in arrears for part of the costs. The full liability amount will not be set until data is collected on the contribution of cigarette butts to the 2023 litter toll.

    A statutory company overseen by the Department of the Environment will be established to ensure that producers are contributing to the cost or redesigning their products to abide by the Brussels directive.

    The legislation will later focus on fishing gear, balloons and wet wipes. The change makes producers responsible for the entire life cycle of products, including end-of-use costs.

    “It forces companies to rethink what they’re putting on the market and the costs involved—if they have to pay for litter clean-ups, if they have to pay for recycling,” said Bernie Kiely, a senior environment official in circular economy materials management. “What you are doing is putting that whole-of-life cost back on the producers who put it on the market in the first place.”