Kildare County Council (KCC) has provided 3,500 reusable drinks bottles to groups and individuals in Kildare. As KCC has links with a wide variety of community, youth and sports groups, it was decided to offer a useful item that pointed to reuse and also referenced the Eastern-Midlands Waste Region (EMWR). A reusable drinks bottle was agreed as a suitable item.
Within KCC, a number of sections were involved to assist with promotion and distribution- environment, leisure services, parks and transport. TidyTowns groups, GAA and other sports clubs were also involved.
Reusable bottles are made available at events organised by KCC (e.g. Family Fun Days, Operation Transformation etc.). The concept of reusing was explained to individuals getting the bottle. In particular, the public was asked to consider how many bottles they would otherwise consume if they didn’t have a reusable bottle.
The bottles were very well received by the targeted groups-sports clubs in particular were very appreciative. The questionnaire however was only poorly responded to so resulting data and impacts are difficult to assess.
All respondents indicated that they used the bottle on a weekly basis, that they would previously use an average of four single-use drinks bottles per week and that initiatives such as this are helpful in raising awareness and directly reducing waste.
In terms of the bottle itself, the 750 ml bottle was the correct choice (1litre bottles are available but these are too big, particularly for children). Distribution is the key issue with the bottles, and the cooperation of other sections of KCC was vital in this regard. It is important that initiatives such as this aren’t confined to environmental events- sports days, community events etc. are all suitable occasions- with the proviso that staff are trained to engage with a brief, positive message about reduction.
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