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Ireland’s Plastic Problem

Did you know that Ireland is the number one plastic waste producer in the European Union and over a third of all produced plastic, such as straws, shopping bags or bottles, is used only once and then thrown away? In 2018 we were generating on average 61 kg of plastic waste per person- the equivalent of 5,500 coffee cups each Ireland has some of the most diverse and spectacular coastlines in the world but the overuse of plastic is not only damaging its image and polluting Irish oceans and seas, but it is also threatening our marine life and people’s health.

None of us are perfect but we can all play our part with the choices we make as consumers and citizens and together individual actions can make an impact:

- Leave plastic and excess cardboard packaging behind at your supermarket either at the till or in a designated container.

- Try to buy loose fruit and veg - you end up buying less. You can limit non-recyclable packaging and food waste by only buying what you need - less food items go off.

- Make or buy reusable cotton bags, or put the produce loose in your own shopping bag.

- When there’s a choice, buy items with paper or cardboard packaging.

- Where packaging is inevitable, favour hard plastic (which is recyclable) over soft film which is generally not.

- With toiletries: Use shampoo bars rather than plastic containers (though they are recyclable).

Like many I recently watched the depressing Seaspiracy on Netflix and was shocked.

To be honest I was shocked that many of the issues which were being claimed as if they were an exposé such as the dolphin hunting in Japan have been public knowledge for years and years. However while I have some reservations about the style and content I don’t disagree that the more people that are made aware of the issues raised about the deteriorating health of our oceans can only be a good thing in helping to bring about positive changes needed.

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