Ireland says no to packaging tax


September 16, 2013

The Irish government has decided against levying a packaging tax, arguing that it would be too expensive to do so.

Phil Hogan, Ireland's environment, community and local government minister, announced the decision at the Environment Ireland Conference, which was held in Dublin.

Hogan said the main reason for his decision was one of cost: "The introduction of a packaging levy is likely to generate a number of costs – to the legislative process, to public administration, to business – with few identifiable additional environmental benefits, given our very successful packaging recovery and recycling performance to date in Ireland."

The minister added that he would not pursue a deposit and refund scheme for drinks containers either.

A report by Paul K Gorecki of the Economic and Social Research Institute and Department of Economics at Trinity College in Dublin argued that a levy would not only costly but would offer "few if any tangible benefits".

Repak, the Irish organisation charged with overseeing a voluntary agreement between industry and the government on producer responsibility, welcomed the decision.

"This secures the support for the existing, and highly successful, Repak funding model (based on charging packaging levies to participating member companies) which has seen packaging recycling rates grow from 15 percent in 1998 to over 72 percent in 2011," it added.

Ireland was ranked amongst the leading EU countries for packaging recycling, Repak said.