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Plastic pollution: Compostable Packaging Trial

Karina Robinson   Wed 03 Jul 2019

Public awareness of plastic pollution is on the rise and businesses are also taking action to reduce the amount of pointless plastic they use.

As part of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful’s Tackling Plastic NI Project (funded by DAERA), we’re currently trialing compostable packaging items throughout Ards & North Down, to reduce plastic pollution on our streets and shores.

Through the Live Here Love Here campaign and Ards & North Down Borough Council’s RCIF Scheme we visited on-the-go retailers and asked if they would like to get involved. We got chatting to business owners who had already invested in compostable packaging, those who had thought about it but hadn’t yet taken the plunge and those who it was all new to.

With 625 bits of litter found on our beaches every 100m, 78% of which was plastic, including polystyrene food containers, plastic cutlery, food wrappers, plastic bottles and tops, as businesses and consumers we need to make changes fast.

We worked closely with local waste management company, Natural World Products, who had carried out trials on specific compostables to ensure items were 100% certified as compostable.

Participating retailers will be educating their customers on how to dispose of compostable items correctly. Either by giving back to the retailer or putting them in their food caddy/bin. Look out for the compostable packaging in Ards & North Down area with the Live Here Love Here and RCIF logos. Make sure to tell the shop what you thought. We want to understand how well compostable items work from both vendor user view. We all need to work together and make small sacrifices to our convenience driven lives to reduce pointless plastic and help the environment in which we live.

If your favourite sandwich shop is using single-use plastic, especially polystyrene, ask them to source alternatives, or ask if you can you bring your own food container. Small changes can make a big difference.

Our message:

If you don’t need it, don’t use it – don’t just pick up the plastic cutlery or straw ‘just in case’

If you use it, source an alternative – bring your own reusable food container, or choose to buy from a business using an alternative to plastic for takeaway food

If you do use plastic – ensure you recycle/dispose of it properly, if it can be recycled take it home, if it can’t make sure it’s disposed of in a bin and won’t end up on our streets or beaches.

Check out the BBC coverage on the trial: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-northern-ireland-48760751/plastic-pollution-stemming-the-tide-on-ni-s-beaches

#TacklingPlasticNI