Every year, we create more than 300 million tonnes of plastic, half of this is single-use. Worldwide, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute and 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used every year.
World Refill Day on Wednesday 16 June is a global movement to prevent plastic pollution and champion reuse over single-use. This refill revolution is “on a mission to make living with plastic easier.”
Ireland’s fight against single-use plastics
Although a small country, Ireland has proven itself to be a progressive player in the fight against plastics, being among the first countries to introduce a ban on plastic bags. The initial 15 cent plastic bag levy, raised to 22 cents in 2007 has proved a huge success leading to a 90% fall in plastic bag consumption in Ireland as well as inspiring a number of copycat schemes around the world.
Ireland is also complying with the EU Single Use Plastics Directive Directive (EU) 2019/904, by ensuring the following single-use plastic items will be banned from being placed on the Irish market from 3 July 2021: Cotton Bud Sticks, Cutlery, Plates, Stirrers, Chopsticks, Straws, Expanded polystyrene single use food and beverage containers and all oxo-degradable plastic products.
Verified members of the Origin Green programme are playing their part by signing up to the Origin Green Sustainability Charter, which promotes best practice in the design, implementation and reporting of environmental and sustainability practices. Under the Raw Material Sourcing Target Area of the Charter it is compulsory for members to set at least one packaging target in their plans. Of our members, 320 packaging targets have been set, many of which are focused on the reduction of the use of plastic in their production. Some of these targets include;
- Percentage elimination/reduction of plastics from their packaging
- Reduction of their total packaging
- Increased percentage of recyclable, compostable, biodegradable packaging
- Increased percentage of reusable packaging
- Reduction in film use
- Increased use of recycled content for their plastic packaging
- Transition to rPET packaging.
Ways you can Refill & Reuse this World Refill Day:
One of the easiest changes you can make to reduce your plastic waste, is to ditch buying plastic bottles and carry a refillable on. Invest in a steel bottle, as metal carriers are great for stopping chemicals from plastic leaching into your water. You’ll protect the planet and save money!
- Coffee Cup
Two million disposable coffee cups are given out for free every day in Ireland. When the pandemic hit, we saw many chains and local coffee shops stop accepting reusables and some serious coffee cup pollution going on in parks, beaches and streets across the country. Make sure that when your local coffee shop starts accepting reusable cups that you get back into the habit of bringing your own!
Invest in a wooden toothbrush made with animal hair. Because toothbrushes need to be replaced three or four times a year, think of how many people’s toothbrushes end up in landfills or the ocean?
Buy a butter dish so that you can purchase butter wrapped in greaseproof paper rather than in cartons. You can go a step further and also choose cheese which is wrapped in paper instead of plastic.
- Health & Beauty Products
Try swapping out your soap and shampoo plastic bottles for shampoo and soap bars. They’re both great plastic-free alternatives. However, if they don’t work for you, you can still reduce plastic from your routine by choosing brands that offer refillable shampoos, conditioners and shower gels.
Join the Refill Revolution:
As individuals, our everyday actions really do make a difference. To create change, we don’t need one person to do it perfectly, we need millions of people to make small changes at the same time.
Together, we can connect our actions to our oceans and make plastic pollution a thing of the past.
To find out more ways you can join the Refill Revolution, visit refill.org.uk/world-refill-day/.