Use of disposable cups and cutlery to be phased out in public sector

Plans to be brought to Cabinet by Minister for Environment, Eamon Ryan

The use of disposable cups and cutlery will be phased out in public sector canteens under new plans being brought to Cabinet on Tuesday.

Minister for Environment, Eamon Ryan, will bring the plans to Cabinet for approval, as part of a wider public sector mandate around climate change.

Under the new measures, the public sector will be expected to end the use of disposable cups, plates and cutlery from canteens or closed facilities except for those in clinical or health settings. Such settings could include a public coffee-shop in a hospital.

He will also tell Ministers of plans to phase out, over time, the use of parking in buildings used by public sector workers.


Mr Ryan will tell Cabinet that this will apply only if there is access to good transport services or if there are mobility sharing options for the majority of staff or visitors.

Parking will be maintained for people with physical mobility issues or staff who may work shifts or out of hours.

Mr Ryan will bring a memo detailing plans to only lease zero-emission vehicles where possible, although this may not be possible with heavy-duty vehicles immediately.

The new public sector mandate will say that the sector should lead by example on climate by taking a range of actions to help reduce Ireland’s emissions by 51 per cent by 2030.

The mandate will apply to all public sector bodies covered by decarbonisation targets except for local authorities, commercial semistate Bodies and the school sector.

Other aspects of the plan include proposals to promote the use of bikes – including push bikes, electric bikes and cargo bikes – and shared mobility by providing facilities like secure bike parking, shared mobility parking and charging stations.

He will also outline plans to end the installation of heating systems that use fossil fuels in new buildings or renovation and retrofit projects after 2023.

Ministers Ryan and Minister of State Ossian Smyth will launch the plans on Tuesday.

It comes after the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) last week raised concerns that delivery of core measures in the Climate Action Plan is not happening fast enough, highlighting issues with the planning system that could hamper progress.

The chairwoman of the body, Marie Donnelly, said: “As we approach the midpoint of the first carbon budget, the Climate Change Advisory Council remains concerned that the timelines for delivery of core measures within the Climate Action Plan are not progressing fast enough.”

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times