10 February 2022
By Elaine Murphy
Looking for reasons to Break up With Plastic this Valentine’s Day?
Valentine’s Day is a time to reflect and appreciate the relationships in our lives. However, it can also be a time to reflect on our relationship to things that may not be benefitting us or our environment. Such as single-use plastic.
This February, Clean Coasts are calling for people all over Ireland to end their relationship with single-use plastic items they thought they couldn’t live without by finding new, more sustainable items to love and sharing what some of their favourite plastic-free alternatives are!
Cork-based Clean Coasts volunteer Dave Ludgate AKA Subowti is one of the biggest supporters of the #2minutebeachclean campaign in Ireland. Dave of “Subowti” describes himself as someone who cares about the world he leaves behind for the next generation and generations to come. He has a deep love of the water, water sports and the environment, and spends most of his time stand up paddleboarding (SUP) the River Lee and picking up the varied objects that get dumped there.
Most of the objects picked up are plastic items, such as bottles, food wrappers, food containers and more, including some retro rubbish items and Dave uses social media to raise awareness about the amount of plastic that can be collected along our coast.
These plastic items can harm marine life, as they can get entangled in plastic items or ingest them.
Recent statistics show that Ireland is the number one plastic waste producer in the European Union, with 54kg of plastic waste per person produced each year, as well as being the country with the fourth lowest recycling rate.
The #BreakUpWithPlastic initiative aims to raise awareness of the impact of plastic pollution on our planet and marine environment by asking people to stop opting for single-use plastic.
Speaking about the campaign, Sinead McCoy, Clean Coasts said: “We once again are asking people to stop and think how they are using plastic and to educate themselves about plastic and its impact. If we continue with the use of plastic as a single use item, we will continue to create immense waste issues and high demands on our natural environment. We need now more than ever before to discover ways to move away from the overly convenient individually packaged lifestyle we have adopted and find a way to break up with single use plastic.’ Sinead continued to say, ‘We realise it can be difficult to make the break from single use, so for anybody starting the journey towards new, reusable, long-lasting loves, we have tips and hints on our website to get you started.’
What Can We Do?
Throughout the month of February, to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Clean Coasts, alongside the Think Before You Flush campaign, will be sharing tips and resources to help people around Ireland to end their toxic relationship with single-use plastic and find themselves a better match.
Think Before You Flush is a public awareness campaign tackling the issue of sanitary waste projects being disposed of incorrectly. Everyday thousands of wet wipes, cotton buds, sanitary products and other unsuitable items are flushed down toilets in Ireland instead of being put in the bin, causing blockages and plastic pollution in rivers, on beaches and in the ocean. Think Before You Flush is operated by Clean Coasts and run in partnership with Irish Water.
Clean Coasts and Think Before You Flush will be sharing on social media and their website some downloadable resources, easy daily swaps, blog posts and more. In addition, Clean Coasts and the Think Before You Flush campaign will be hosting an Instagram Live session on 14th February at 12:30pm to discuss the impact of plastic on the marine environment, how to reduce plastic within our communities and actions that can be taken to protect our ocean from home.
Active participation of just 3.5% of the Irish population can bring about change – so imagine what could be achieved with more. Breaking up with plastic may seem daunting at first, but we’re here to help.
Join the campaign on social media @CleanCoasts and at www.cleancoasts.org