Two popular seaside villages are to become the first in the country to phase out the use of plastic.
The villages of Glasthule and Sandycove in south county Dublin, with a combined population of around 8,000, are now being trialled as plastic free areas.
The initiative, Glasthule and Sandycove Going Green, is being started by a number of small businesses and traders in the villages wanting to phase out the use of at least three types of plastic.
They are also hoping to cut their waste, energy and water consumption as the initiative developed over the coming months.
More than 40% of plastic is used just once and then thrown away. Nine million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean every year, resulting in huge environmental damage.
As a first step, the initiative has set a target for local businesses to substitute three of their single-use, non-compostable plastics with biodegradable alternatives by the end of this year.
Mark Caviston of Caviston’s Food Emporium and seafood restaurant said: “Living in such a beautiful seaside area, we are particularly conscious of the need to protect our ocean.
“We have already switched to biodegradable containers and wooden cutlery, and are encouraging customers to bring their own container to our fish counter and are switching away from non-recyclable coffee cups. Many other businesses are making similar changes”.
Businesses have produced their own list of actions and these will be displayed in each shop with special signage and suggestions on how consumers can support the initiative.
Customers are being asked to bring their own reusable coffee cups, water bottles, tote bags, or containers.
Former Lord Mayor of Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council and Fianna Fail councillor Cormac Devlin added: “It is wonderful to see the public and especially businesses engaging with the problem of plastics. We need more of these voluntary initiatives and I congratulate all of the businesses involved in setting up these ones.
“However, that said, we now need the manufacturers of food product and other products to also get the message that the public want less packaging, less plastic and more environmentally sensitive alternatives.
Businesses are also encouraging customers to buy more sustainable products. Rococo clothing store is selling sustainable bamboo-based clothing while Hatch Coffee Shop is stocking re-usable coffee cups and Mirella’s gift shop is selling 100% natural rubber baby toys.
The launch is at midday this coming Saturday as part of the Bloomsday celebrations in Glasthule.
For further information log on to facebook.com/GlasthuleSandycoveGreen/