March 21st, 2018
Dublin City University has announced plans to become plastic free by the end of the decade, with plastic cups and glasses to be withdrawn from campus with immediate effect.
As part of its drive, the university has identified a range of single-use disposable plastic items to be eliminated due to their detrimental impact on the environment.
The aim is to phase out the use of takeaway plastic items including cutlery and straws by this September and to completely eliminate the use of plastic water and soft drink bottles by 2020.
The decision was announced during the launch of Green Campus Week, an annual program to encourage educational institutions to take part in activities about environmental sustainability.
DCU President, Professor Brian MacCraith, said that the university is committed to putting environmental sustainability at the forefront of its agenda to address the very real challenge of plastic waste both at a local and global level.
“Today’s announcement is the start of a journey which will help set best practice for our students, staff, and society around us,” he added.
Earlier this month, DCU students voted in favour of banning single-use plastics in a Student Union referendum.
The outcome was achieved in large part due to the hard campaigning by the student-led Sustainable Living Society which helped gain votes crucial for the referendum to be passed.
Students of Trinity College Dublin are also trying to implement a similar initiative on their campus through TCD plastic solutions. The student-led project has the ultimate goal of eliminating the sale of single-use plastics on campus.
It is estimated that there are currently more than five trillion pieces of plastic floating in our oceans, weighing a whopping 250,000 tons – the same weight as almost 25,000 Dublin buses.
According to the European Commission, EU citizens generate 25 million tonnes of plastic waste every year, less than 30 per cent of which is collected for recycling.
It is estimated that Ireland ranks at the top in plastic waste production in Europe with 61kg of plastic waste per person each year.
In a 2016 survey, Coastwatch Ireland found that 80 per cent of surveyed coastal sites contained litter, with plastic bottles the main culprit.