New Year – Plastic Free July Update

2021 NY resolution for living plastic-free

Choosing to refuse one more plastic items each month in 2021 – As we move forward in 2021 this option might be easier than doing everything at once. Ask you family, friends, sports club or office to commit each month to swap out one single-use plastic product with a reusable alternative. For example, in January you could swap out takeaway coffee cups for a reusable one, in February you could start buying plastic-free toothbrushes, in March start using a personal reusable water bottles and so on. 

Can you Refuse’ Single-use Plastic?

Each year in July 2020 people all over the world aim to exclude plastic bottles, cutlery, fruit packing, coffee cup lids and other common plastic waste items from their daily life, opting instead for reusable containers or those made from biodegradable materials.  We think this is a great idea and should be be a year round effort by all. 

Plastic Free Poster 1

The vision started in Western Australia in 2011 and has since moved across the world to help promote and stop the earth becoming further saturated with plastic materials which are part of our convenience lifestyle.

Lots of items are designed to be used once and disposed of. They fill up bins in homes, work, schools and on streets across the world including Ireland with Irish town and city bins full to capacity most of the time.

Ireland and some other countries have made some progress with a tax on single-use plastic bags which reduced usage but problems still exist with millions of plastics bags, cutlery, bottles plates and cartons used daily.

This usage is rapidly increasing the amount of non-biodegradable product on the earth. These plastics may be cheap and convenient, but it’s having real consequences. Plastic is polluting our land, air, and oceans; it is harming our marine life and even invading our bodies with Microbeads everywhere.

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Where to start – We have added 10 Tips to help

BRING YOUR OWN BAG: Get yourself a couple of good cloth bags and leave them in the car or beside the front door so you’ll always have them on hand.

DON’T BUY BOTTLED WATER: Get some reusable bottles and fit a cost-effective water filter to the taps in your home.

FRUIT CARTONS:  Avoid plastic fruit and vegetable packaging. A single plastic produce carton can take more than 1000 years to degrade so shop for unpackaged fruit and veg when you can or leave the plastic with the store.  They will get the idea!

DAILY COFFEE: Take away coffee cups are lined with plastic and often can’t be recycled. Take your own coffee cup or have a sit-down coffee using the cafe’s cups.

PACK A LUNCHBOX:  Use a good sturdy lunchbox with separate compartments, to allow you to pack food straight into separately, eliminating the need for plastic wrapping and avoid plastic-wrapped snack foods like biscuits or bars. Try making some at home, it cheaper and somewhat healthier.

PLASTIC FOOD WRAP: Buy some stainless steel or long plastic containers to help eliminate the need for single life plastic food wrapping.

STRAWS: If you really want a straw, buy reusable straws for use at home and demand reusable straws from your local takeaways or restaurants.

CUT PLASTIC CUTLERY: Plastic cutlery is another single-use plastic item you can avoid. Keep some reusable cutlery in your lunch or picnic bag.

SOURCE A SODA MAKER: This helps reduce the amount of plastic soft drinks bottles purchased, used and disposed of in your home and office weekly.

SHOP WISE: Ask your local shop and supermarket to make the change away from plastic or vote with your feet until they do. It will happen and think about all the waste which won’t enter your waste and the related time saved.

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Plastic Free 2021 – what to do! 

Just join the challenge and ‘Choose To Refuse’ single-use plastic during 2021. You can assist in achieving the goals of having a world without plastic waste.  Will you join and give up? If so learn more, and sign up at www.plasticfreejuly.org

Did You Know?

Friends of the Earth are interested to have Plastic Deposit Return Scheme in Ireland. They say it is a tried and tested method of collecting plastic bottles in public places, in states across America and countries across Europe. People can return their used drinks containers in exchange for money at reverse vending machines. Just like we returned glass for coins in Ireland in the past we can do this for plastic and aluminium today.

In late 2019 our previous Climate Action and Environment Minister Richard Bruton said he would like to see a study before taking any action in Ireland.

At the same time, final regulations for Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme have now been laid in the Scottish Parliament. It is now confirmed the scheme’s go-live date will be 1 July 2022, giving retailers and producers “time to prepare for a successful scheme

What’s Planned 

If you purchase drinks in Scotland will have to pay a (£) deposit on every bottle or drinks can purchase. This ambitious new scheme unveiled by the Scottish government aims to help reduce and recover items for reuse and safe recycling.

The deposit return scheme is due to be the first national scheme in the UK and will cover glass and plastic bottles, as well as aluminium and steel drinks cans, sold in Scotland.

The consumer will get their deposit back when they return the empty bottle or can to the retailer. The scheme will operate throughout Scotland, including rural areas.  All types of drinks and all containers above 50ml and up to three litres in size are included. What do you think about this initiative? Would Ireland benefit from similar?

Some Progress!

In October 2020 the new Irish Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD invited the public to give their views on the design of a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and aluminium cans. The consultation feedback is being reviewed and you can get further details here.

Some positive steps are been taken by food retailers in Ireland. For example Aldi are removing plastic wrapping from product like drinks cartons, some fruit, veg and meat cartons and polystyrene from frozen pizza bases. You might ask yourself and then your local store manager what they are doing to really reduce plastic usage?

Organisations like Coca Coke and Guinness have also removed plastic from drinks carton and replaced with cardboard cartons so some change is underway. We are all demand and do more!

About Recycle IT

As you know lots of electrical, electronic and metal items are packed in plastic and have a plastic cover or coating. When these items are recycled the plastic is removed and mainly reused in new products. We do our best to aid this process but like you we we can struggle with everyday soft plastics used in the office or canteen. We do our best to reduce and this is why we follow Plastic Free July its helps with tips and guides change!

Recycle IT is an award-winning not for profit enterprise providing a collection and drop off service for all types of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). Last year Recycle IT offered to drop off and collection services to homes, schools, charities, and businesses across Dublin and surrounding areas collecting a range of WEEE which includes thousands of computers, cables, monitors, microwaves and TV’s.

Recycle IT services are provided in partnership with WEEE Ireland. Recycle IT are supported by Pobal, South Dublin County Council and authorized by the National Waste Collection Permit Office and the local authorities across Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow.

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