On foot of the 2003 Litter Monitoring Body Report, a consultancy study was commissioned to carry out a comprehensive and objective analysis on the application of economic instruments (including environmental levies) on chewing gum and automated teller machine (ATM) receipts as a means of minimising the litter problems caused by such items.
Over the course of the study, the consultants considered three principal options as a means of tackling the specified litter categories:
- voluntary agreements,
- negotiated agreements and
- mandatory levies
The Department and the Chewing Gum Industry have put in place a new negotiated agreement for a further three-year period to highlight the gum litter problem and encourage proper gum disposal. The agreement builds on the success of previous agreements with the industry covering the period 2007 to 2017. The agreement (2018 – 2020) includes enhanced public awareness campaigns and education programmes and also includes introduces new agreed mechanisms to further enhance and reinvigorate the campaign including several new elements to help raise awareness of the impact of gum litter and encourage proper gum disposal. The agreement represents a €10.2 million commitment by industry over the three-year period.
In brief, the agreement provides for:
- An Annual Media Campaign
- A Web-site
- An Education and Grants Programme
- Point of Sale Initiatives
- Local Authority Awareness/Education/Enforcement Initiatives
- Research and Development into less adhesive gum products
The newly designed programme is comprehensive and highly targeted in order to address the root cause of the problem. The awareness measures in the media campaign are complemented by a specially designed and fully researched gum-litter awareness pack for post-primary schools. The awareness pack, called Bin It! contains teacher notes, activity cards, resource cards, posters and an interactive Gum Litter Awareness website An 'Actor Tour' Presentation has also been designed to complement the resource pack. To date, over 10,000 students have taken part in the actor tour programme.
The Department is represented on the Gum Litter Taskforce (GLT) which was established in March 2006 to oversee and drive forward the various elements of the agreement. The GLT is supported by a full-time executive provided by the Industry.
ATM advice slips are not a significant element of litter pollution nationwide, but they can build up around ATM machines and become very unsightly, particularly in urban areas.
Agreement was reached by the Department at the end of December 2006 with the Irish Banking Federation (IBF), acting on behalf of retail banking groups with ATM networks, on a Protocol to tackle the problem of litter caused by ATM advice slips. The Protocol also contains a general commitment on behalf of bank branches to monitor cleanliness around their premises and to keep these areas free of litter. This agreement was launched by Minister Roche and the Chief Executive of the Irish Banking Federation (IBF) on 10 January 2007. The success of the Agreement is reviewed on an annual basis.
The Protocol contains three agreed measures as follows:
- Changes in the software on ATM machines to help reduce the number of receipts generated. If a customer requires a receipt, they will have to go through a sequence of on-screen commands in order to get one.
- Provision of an on-screen message reminding customers to dispose of their advice slips responsibly.
- Sign-up by the banks to a suite of good-housekeeping measures to deal with litter caused by ATM advice slips around their branches.
The full text of the agreed protocol can be read at the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland