The war on single-use plastic has begun in earnest in Ireland with businesses, environmental groups and a prominent GAA club joining in the battle to cut its use.
Building material group, Kingspan, has partnered with a foundation that removes plastic from the ocean and plans to reuse as much of the plastic recovered as it can in the production of insulation products.
Friends of the Earth has partnered with VOICE Ireland to empower communities to take action on single-use plastics while Youghal GAA has joined forces with Refill Ireland to encourage the use of reusable water bottles.
Kingspan plans to use 500 million recycled plastic bottles a year in its insulation products by 2023. The three-year partnership with the EcoAlf Foundation will see it help to remove up to 150 tonnes of waste from the Mediterranean each year.
"Today's announcement forms part of a longer-term strategy we are developing around supporting the circular economy and increasing our use of recycled materials," said Kingspan CEO, Gene Murtagh.
"With the construction industry contributing 30% of all the global waste that goes into landfill, it is vital that we find responsible ways to reduce waste at all points in the supply chain."
Friends of the Earth and VOICE Ireland have launched Sick Of Plastic, a nationwide campaign to cut the use of plastics. Pointing out that Irish companies, shops and households generate twice the EU average of plastic waste, the organisations want a nationwide deposit-return scheme, a tax on single-use cups and a ban on single-use plastics.
They are also demanding that supermarkets reduce plastic packaging. Last year the campaign mobilised thousands of consumers to leave their plastic packaging behind in supermarkets in protest against single-use, non-recyclable packaging.
However, the campaigners say that consumers are already doing their bit: “When the plastic bag tax was introduced in Ireland in 2001, there was a 90% drop in plastic bag use. Yet the amoung of plastic packing used in Ireland has nearly doubled in the last five years and households are left to sort it and recycle what they can. It's not fair.”
Meanwhile, Youghal GAA has joined the environmental initiative Refill Ireland to refilling reusable water bottles at refill stations and ditch single-use plastic bottles.
As a way of promoting the use of reusable water bottles, Youghal GAA is signing up to Refill Ireland to encourage club members, players, visitors and members of the public to fill their water bottles at its outdoor tap.
"It’s a great privilege to be able to play a small part in influencing young peoples' habits around the use of plastics. I’m delighted that Youghal GAA has stepped up to reduce plastic-bottle waste, which ultimately will help to keep Youghal streets, beaches and water free of waste plastic.’
According to Martha Doyle of Cork Environmental Forum: “People want to help stop plastic pollution, and Refill puts the power in people’s hands to do that. We are very proud that Youghal GAA is coming onboard and showing itself to be a great community leader.”