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Lets work together to cut out single-use plastics

Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA has announced that the Northern Ireland Executive has recently approved a plan to reduce unnecessary plastic within the NICS government estate.

The overall aim of the plan is to work towards a ban on unnecessary single-use plastic in the government estate by October 2021. The plan will commence as soon as possible and will focus mainly on the categories of cleaning, catering and tableware and takeaway.  The actions in the plan are grouped around raising awareness and changing behaviours across the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) and working with our suppliers and contractors.

Minister Poots said “This is another welcome step forward in our efforts to cut out single use plastics in Northern Ireland and the throwaway culture in society around plastic.  I am happy to announce that my department led on this initiative as it supports our commitment to the New Decade, New Approach aim for the Executive to create a plan to eliminate plastic pollution. There has been significant cross-departmental support for swift action on reducing unnecessary single use plastic products with many departments already considering the steps to remove them”

“Today’s announcement will help staff across the NICS to work together to play our part in cutting single use plastic. I look forward to seeing the results of the implementation of the plan over the next year.”

Nichola Hughes, Executive Director of Sustainable NI welcomed the introduction of the Plan "We are delighted to have supported DAERA in the development of this plan to remove unnecessary plastic from the government estate and promote environmentally friendly alternatives, such as reusable items. It sets an example for others to follow." 

This plan is a first for the NICS government estate and brings Northern Ireland in line with the rest of the UK. 

Funded by DAERA, Sustainable NI is currently working in partnership with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful to deliver Tackling Plastics NI, a project encouraging businesses, schools, councils and citizens to reduce single-use plastic across Northern Ireland. The aim of the programme is to change consumer behaviour through a targeted education, awareness and pledge campaign.

As part of this initiative Sustainable NI has established a Tackling Plastic Working Group in collaboration with local councils and central government to change policies and practice in order to reduce single-use plastic and accelerate its removal from the public sector estate.

For more information on the initiative click here.

(Pictured: Environment Minister Edwin Poots, MLA holding a reusable water bottle along with Nichola Hughes, Executive Director, Sustainable NI, displaying a reusable coffee cup)