Marine animals die from eating plastic; this is why I wanted to raise awareness about single use plastic and its consequences. 

Humans eat up 18.1 kg of plastic in their lifetime. In a way, you eat the plastic that you trough away. I think that information deserve some thought.

Single use plastic in Ireland

Single-use plastic (SUP) products are a wide range of commonly used plastic items that are expected to be used just once, or for a short time, before being thrown away. They are rarely recycled.

Single-used plastics are most commonly used for packaging, such as bottles, wrappers, straws, and bags.

The Irish government plans to ban single use item from July 2021.

By 5 January 2023, producers of packaging will be required to cover the costs of litter clean up associated with the following single use plastic items:

  • Food containers
  • Packets
  • Wrappers
  • Beverage containers
  • Cups
  • Light weight carrier bags

Source: A Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy | Ireland’s National Waste Policy 2020-2025

This is a top-down approach which will be applicable in shops, but will also affect the way you consume products. Instead of going to shops and buy items with too much plastic around it, you can go to farmers markets, buy quality food free of plastic.

Instead of waiting for laws or politics decisions for changes, you can be the change!

Single use plastic or over-packing (more than one packing) is really prevalent in shops. So here’s some tips as to how you can reduce this.

10 tips to reduce plastic when shopping:
  • Try to buy loose fruit and vegetable (you end up buying less). You can limit non-recyclable packaging and food waste by only buying what you need (less food items to go off).
  • Make or buy reusable cotton bags, or put the produce loose in your own shopping bag.
  • When a choice is possible, buy items with paper or cardboard packaging.
  • Ask your supermarket to offer items such as pasta, rice and nuts in bulk, and bring your own containers for them.
  • Do the same with meat, chicken and fish. Ask your butcher to wrap your purchases in butcher paper rather than plastic bags or bring a reusable container.
  • Break up packaging where possible and take one or two items if that is all that is needed. It sends a message to supermarkets not to use excessive packaging.
  • Where packaging is inevitable, favour hard plastic (which is recyclable) over soft film which is usually not.
  • With toiletries: Use shampoo bars rather than plastic containers (though they are recyclable). (Source: VOICE environmental group and Brother Ireland)

REUSE & REPAIR

I also would like to introduce you to the subject of reuse and repair subject. For example instead of throwing away object you don’t use anymore you can give it to charity. Reuse and repair is a method which needs to be more developed. Some countries like France there are shops where you can bring your broken households appliance and if it is possible they can be repair. The action is a way to avoid overconsumption. In Ireland, there are similar shops but there are only to be found near big cities. But if you live in rural areas it is more difficult for you to access those shops.

I have done some research and have found websites to help along your way.

If you can’t reuse or repair and you still need to get rid of an item, you can place it on FreeTrade Ireland. This is an online swap site. You post your item online with a picture and if someone wants it they come and pick it up free of charge.

There is links to some websites:

https://www.freetradeireland.ie

https://www.adverts.ie

Written by Marine DAVIAUD