At ChangeX, we’ve become increasingly aware of the major global issue of plastic pollution; the damage it inflicts on the environment; and the mind boggling volume of plastic we use and throw away every day. We know that many of you care deeply about it too; every social media post we’ve shared about it has received more interest than any other issue we’ve covered.
It’s something that can be very emotive; the distressing video of the turtle with a straw stuck in its nose reminds us of the vulnerability of all wildlife to the actions of humans. It can lead to a sense of guilt and helplessness, as we know that we all contribute to the problem, but it can seem difficult to know what to do about it.
However the full picture is not one of doom and gloom. There is so much to be hopeful about. We’ve been in awe of the progress of many organisations, individuals and communities, both in Ireland and across the world, as they step up to design innovative solutions, and take action, to tackle this challenge. Because we’re not helpless. And, starting with the smallest of actions in our communities, all of us can play a part in the solution.
We know that at ChangeX we haven’t given this issue enough attention, with no plastic related ideas on the platform. That, however, is all about to change. This week, we’re taking our first step.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be adding a portfolio of ideas for communities to address the craziness that plastic-waste has become and we hope you’ll join us in starting to build plastic-free communities.
Where do we start?
Today we’re launching the first plastic pollution idea “The Last Plastic Straw“, a global movement to eliminate plastic drinking straws from landfills, streams, oceans, and beaches. Plastic straws epitomise wasteful, unnecessary plastic so we’ve decided to start here, to kick off a movement towards plastic-free communities everywhere.
Everyone and anyone can start this idea in their community: individuals, teams and businesses, with some very small and simple actions.
The Last Plastic Straw is a project of Plastic Pollution Coalition, a global movement of more than 500 organisations and individuals seeking to increase understanding of the plastic pollution problem and to find sustainable solutions.
More ideas to come
At the national and local community levels in Ireland, strides are being taken by grassroots campaigns and organisations to reduce plastic pollution.
Refill Ireland is a fantastic social enterprise working to make free tap drinking water filling stations accessible in all communities, to reduce our dependency on single use plastic bottles. They have a handy interactive map that shows all refill locations in Ireland.
Plastic Free Kinsale is a new and ambitious community initiative supporting local people to reduce their plastic consumption & increase recycling, through the provision of clear information. We are currently working on ways to collaborate with both of these ideas, so others can discover and implement them in their communities.
Other initiatives and organisations we are inspired by and provide an opportunity for individuals and communities to take action on include; the Conscious Cup Campaign (their map shows the retailers that give discounts for bringing your own cup); Minimal Waste Grocery whose ethos is about saying no to unnecessary plastic packaging; no to paying for it and no to paying again to dispose of it; and the Green Party’s Waste Reduction bill which includes a deposit and return scheme for bottles.
We’re also eyeing up the Plastic Free July challenge (with excitement and trepidation in equal measure!), feeling supported and informed through membership of the Zero Waste Facebook group and hoping Irish supermarkets take note of the world’s first plastic-free aisle which recently opened in the Netherlands.
We wholeheartedly agree with a supporter of the initiative who says:
“There is absolutely no logic in wrapping something as fleeting as food in something as indestructible as plastic. Plastic food and drink packaging remains useful for a matter of days yet remains a destructive presence on the Earth for centuries afterwards.”
We hope you’ll join us as we start our campaign to support communities across Ireland to become plastic-free. It’s an exciting time. There is so much already happening and so many ways to get involved and take action. Over the coming months we’ll be sharing more plastic pollution-related ideas, starter stories about those who have decided to start these ideas in their communities, and updates from the ChangeX team as we start some of the ideas too.