Have you ever found yourself being lead along in a wave of opinion by somebody you know, not knowing exactly what you were campaigning for or supporting, but doing it anyway because it felt easier to comply than ask questions? For example, how many times have you been asked for a signature, for sponsorship, to march, walk or run in aid of a cause by a family member or friend? And how many times have you said no? Very few I imagine, it’s the Irish way, right? We support each other, partly out of a willingness to support, partly out of unwillingness to rock the boat, and partly out of laziness or lack of interest in asking why. And so it was, when we were asked by Sorcha Spelman to support the Ditch The Disposable Campaign. We didn't know too much about it, but if this particular person was to ask us to walk to the moon, we would do our utmost to oblige. Let me explain.
You see, Sorcha Spelman, Mark McConnell and all the team at Ecos have been a pillar of support to us as we launched our business in Limerick last year. Although not in direct competition, both Ecos and Glas Éireann Solutions share the same interests and ideals, and Mark and his team have established themselves as experts within their field across all business sectors and across all areas. The guys had no hesitation in sharing their rolodex and introducing us to many important people within our shared sector, and were particularly welcoming when we coincidentally found ourselves as neighbours in Roselawn House.
Sorcha is also part of a prestigious group of Ireland’s first ever national Climate Ambassadors. The Climate Ambassador programme is a new initiative to train and support individuals taking action on climate issues. The programme is co-ordinated by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce with support from the Department of Communication, Climate Action and Environment and is mooted as a real opportunity to take meaningful climate actions to make positive change. Sorcha didn't ask us to walk to the moon, but did ask us to put together a small video in support of this initiative, and we had absolutely no hesitation in obliging.
Being conservationists ourselves, we had more than a passing interest in this subject, but after indepth research, some of the facts that jumped at us were simply mind-numbing. For example, did you know that
· Most paper cups are non-recyclable, as their plastic lining is too difficult for recycling plants to separate
· Fewer than 1 in 400 cups are recycled. The rest; about 1 million per minute, get put in landfill
· Because of FDA regulations, paper cups must be made of non-recycled materials i.e. New trees have to be cut down to make them (20 million trees annually)
· For every cup produced, 1/4 pound of CO2 is released in the atmosphere
· 200 million disposable coffee cups are used in Ireland each year.
· Only 9% of all plastic ever produced has been recycled.
So, what is the Ditch The Disposables campaign?
Millions of people around the globe start their day with a piping cup of tea or coffee. In a rush to work or school, they order their beverage to-go. This campaign is to encourage coffee (and other hot-drink) lovers to put a little more thought into the paper cups they buy daily. With 1,000,000 paper cups sent to landfill each minute, surely, we need to reduce our consumption of these disposable devils. The aim is to get as many people as possible, to bring their own travel mugs to coffee shops, instead of using a paper cup and help reduce deforestation, landfill, water-waste and CO2 emissions.
The campaign has started to gain amazing traction across the country. For example, since September 2017, UCC staff and students are no longer permitted to take disposable coffee cups into the library. To support the transition, discounts are available at outlets across campus when you bring your reusable mug, as part of their Green Campus initiative. Outside of universities, you and I can even earn rewards from bringing a reusable cup. Starbucks offer a 35c discount. Insomnia gives loyalty card points. And Cafe Nero and Cafe Sol give you an extra stamp on your loyalty card!
Where once we followed silently in support, we now want to help beat the drum – Ditch the Disposables people, you know it makes sense!
At Glas Éireann Solutions, we are committed to reducing commercial, agricultural and industrial energy usage, energy overheads, carbon footprint as well as exposure to future energy price increase risk. To find out more on how we can help your business, why not contact us here, or phone on 061 - 633 298.
Alternatively, sign up for our regular newsletter, right here.