Community initiative is cutting through the recycling confusion
Plastic Free Kinsale, a new community initiative to reduce unnecessary plastic use and increase recycling, was launched on the 25th January by Madeleine Murray and Tara Shine.
Ireland is one of Europe’s top 5 plastic waste producers, producing 61 kilogrammes per person, per year. Now that China, who in 2016 took 95% of Ireland’s plastic for recycling, has signalled that it will no longer accept our waste, reducing the amount of plastic we consume is a must.
Tara and Madeleine held a sustainability focus group with householders and businesses in Kinsale, the results of which made it clear that people want to do the right thing to reduce waste and live healthy and sustainable lives. However, people feel overwhelmed and frustrated by lack of clarity around what they should do and confusion abounds around the information on offer. Plastic Free Kinsale was born, an initiative dedicated to tackling this messaging issue and providing simple and accessible information. Their aim is to mobilise action in homes, business, clubs and schools in the town, and to have fun doing it.
Launching Plastic Free Kinsale, Tara said, ‘we all see the plastic washed up on our beaches and get frustrated with the amount of plastic packaging we end up with when we do our shopping. Hopefully Plastic Free Kinsale can help to empower more of us to make a difference through our actions.’
Plastic Free Kinsale’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are used to share top tips, facts and solutions. This includes three simple things each club, school, household and business can take to reduce plastic waste. Everyone is encouraged to get involved. Discussions with people in town also revealed a demand for face-to-face events; so a recycling workshop has been organised in conjunction with Transition Towns Kinsale and Tidy Towns for the 22nd February, at 7.30 pm at the Friary. Other workshops, presentations, beach cleans and family events will be organised throughout the year.
‘We hope to play our small part in making sustainability smarter and more convenient,’ said Madeleine. ‘We believe that while people may not be experts on the environment or climate change, they are very much experts on their family’s health and well-being and financial security and have more power than they realise, when given the right information in a user friendly way. We are really thrilled with the positive reactions we are getting around the town.’
Plastic Free Kinsale is a wholly voluntary initiative. People can get involved through the social media sites and any businesses, clubs or schools wanting to be part of the initiative can email [email protected]
Dr. Tara Shine is an Environmental Scientist, working freelance as an adviser to governments, world leaders and policy makers on climate change, climate justice and sustainable development.
Madeleine Murray was an archaeologist, teaching and writing at the School of Archaeology, UCD and the National Museum of Ireland. She works as a social media strategist, curating and creating meaningful content for businesses.