Households in Co Kildare generate a combined 13,500 tonnes of single-use plastic packaging waste annually, enough to fill 300 Olympic size swimming pools.
That’s according to a study by the Midlands-based CUSP (Cease Using Single-Use Plastic) that has identified hotspots (in terms of volumes) which if given priority would see significant reductions in the amounts generated in the county each year.
Newbridge is top of the table at 1,380 tonnes annually, followed by Naas (1,250 tonnes) and then Celbridge (1,200). In Leixlip the annual figure is 940 tonnes, 890 in Maynooth, 590 in Athy, 520 in Kildare town, 440 in Clane and 370 tonnes in Kilcock.
The volumes for those nine towns cumulatively account for 48% of the county’s annual single-use plastic waste pile. Also listed in the table (below) are reduction targets aligned to the key UN sustainability goal for the elimination of all non-essential single-use plastic packaging by 2030, estimated at 70% of current global consumption.
To achieve 70% reductions by 2030, Kildare would need to reduce such waste to 4,000 tonnes a year. According to CUSP, “Kildare households would need to reduce from their current average of 171kg annually, to 51kg annually by 2030. That’s a reduction of 120kg per household over the next decade. To put this in perspective, 171kg is equivalent in weight to 3,000 empty 2ltr single-use plastic drinks bottles… 51kg is equivalent to 900.
“CUSP is asking households in Co Kildare to reduce by 12kg annually. Why 12kg? Because 12kg annually (just 1kg monthly) over 10 years gives you 120kg!”
It added that “using the free CUSP app participants simply identify 1kg monthly reductions and repeat that 1kg reduction each month for 12 months… then target a further 1kg monthly reduction for the next 12 months.
CUSP said that growing concerns about the impact of single-use plastic waste on our oceans, marine life, human health (due to micro plastics) and the contribution of plastic packaging production to climate change, due to significant CO2 emissions from its petrochemical based manufacturing process, means we can no longer wait for legislators to solve this problem.
“There are simply too many vested interests with deep pockets, from a cross-section of industries pushing back against any radical measures that would reverse these trends,” it explained. “We each need to take more immediate and direct action in our own homes in order to defeat this environmental scourge.”
The app – CUSP: Single-Use Plastic Calc – is available on iOS and Android.