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Go plastic free this July

Plastics are everywhere, from the packaging of our food to toys for our kids, and from heat-saving domestic insulation to life-saving medical innovations.

Most of us are aware of our over-reliance on plastic and our over-use of single use plastics in particular. Our disposable throw-away culture has led to plastic pollution being one of the world’s most pressing environmental issues. Recent statistics (pre-Covid) have confirmed that Ireland is the number one plastic waste producer in the EU and over a third of all produced plastic, such as straws, shopping bags or bottles, is used only once and then discarded.

Here are some sobering facts (pre Covid):
•An estimated two million disposable coffee cups a day in Ireland went into landfill.
•Around 22 million plastic bottles were purchased in Ireland each week.
•Each person in Ireland produced 54kg of plastic waste per person each year, compared to the EU average of 33kg, making Ireland the largest producer of plastic waste in Europe
•Ireland also has the fourth lowest recycling rate, with 31% of plastic packaging waste produced
•Approximately 9 million tons of plastic waste enter the world’s oceans and seas each year (about a truckful every minute).
•Plastic generally takes between 450 and 1,000 years to decompose.

We can make a difference – our choices matter. Making better decisions to buy and use items to reduce our plastic waste production is what Plastic Free July is all about.

So here are some simple ideas to help make July, and beyond, Plastic Free:
•Let’s start with the really simple ones: cut out the use of disposable straws, coffee cups and water bottles.
•Clingfilm – use lunchboxes instead or beeswax wrapping.
•When shopping, choose loose fruit and veg and packaging free items. It’s important to support businesses that offer these options.
•There’s a lot of plastic in the bathroom. Look at using soap instead of shower gel in plastic bottles, likewise try out shampoo and conditioner bars.

There are a lot more ideas – if anyone would like to share their ideas or Plastic Free July journey, we would love to hear from you!

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