Rethinking single use

The average person in Ireland generates 577 kg of waste per year. Confronting our material usage waste will lead to a more sustainable Ireland.

Single Use

Single-use products became abundant in the late 20th century, driven by lowering costs of production and a demand for convenience.

Over just a few decades, single use items became an integral part of supply-chains and every day life throughout the world. For example, there are 38.5 million single-use plastic bottles used around the world on a daily basis. We have recently come to realise that this consumption of resources cannot last.

Potential for Change

Companies and individuals have been identifying alternatives to single use items all over the world, including right here.

Ireland was a global leader when the plastic bag tax was introduced in 2002. This initiative was hugely successful, and plastic bag use went from 328 bags/person in 2002 to just 14 bags/person in 2016 (almost 95% reduction). Most of us now opt for reusable shopping bags without event thinking about it.

Switching to reusables, at home or at work is a great way to reduce your material consumption. The best way to go about it is one step at a time. Start with simple switches like removing the water cooler cups, or bringing a reusable coffee cup. This will help build momentum. Remember, it’s not all about plastic. Single use paper or compostable items are part of the issue. Where possible go for reusable over any single use material.