In January 2019, the Irish Government decided that government departments and public bodies would lead in reducing generation of single use plastics and waste.
The Government decision recognises that the public service must demonstrate its commitment to sustainable development and use its influence to persuade others of the changes required to reduce our impact on the environment. The main changes include:
• From the 1st of January 2019, Government Departments will not supply, directly or indirectly, single use plastic beverage containers, cutlery or straws. This restriction will also apply to all Public Bodies including State Agencies and schools from the 31st of March 2019 unless specific public health/hygiene or safety issues arise.
• By the 31st of March 2019, the Department will work with the Office of Government Procurement to bring forward proposals on the implementation of green public procurement.
• Each Government Department is required to develop a resource efficiency action plan for publication by the end of June 2019. These plans are designed to help staff make savings in water, materials and energy use as well as preventing food waste and maximising recycling within their work environment.
• By 30th November 2019, all Public Bodies are required to provide a report to their respective Minister on the measures they are taking to minimise waste generation and maximise recycling.

Resources needed

No specific financial resources were required, however the support for Departments and public bodies has required approximately an average of a half day per week. This varies depending on the deadlines for reporting requirements, the organisation of workshops or providing email or phone support

Evidence of success

All of Ireland’s Government departments have ceased purchasing of the single use plastics outlined in the decision. 60% of Government Departments have completed a Resource Efficiency Action Plans to date. Public bodies are due to report at the end of November. It is too early in the process to have any quantitative results.

Difficulties encountered

Raising awareness of the decision and providing support for all public bodies to help them with implementation was a key challenge.

Potential for learning or transfer

This practice can be an example for other regions interested in implementing environmental initiatives throughout Government departments.
The success of this initiative to date offers an example of best practice which can be transferred to other Governments and public bodies across Europe.

Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.

Main institution
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Southern and Eastern, Ireland (Éire)
Start Date
January 2019
End Date


Please login to contact the author.