Planning ahead for dining in the great outdoors this June bank holiday weekend will help reduce waste, keep millions of single use cups, bottles and cutlery from ending up in our waste system or as litter, and reduce costs to local businesses according to My Waste.
Each day in Ireland more than half a million single use coffee cups, and close to a quarter of a million single use plastic bottles are used – the equivalent of 2.25million single use cups and bottles over a bank holiday weekend.
My Waste, Ireland’s official guide to waste management, is appealing to day-trippers and holiday makers to reduce waste and leave no trace when picnicking and bench dining by following some simple tips:
1 – New is Not Always Best
Exactly how much do you need for a picnic? Picnicking and bench dining are light hearted and fun events so don’t rush out to buy lots of new items for enjoying the great outdoors – use mis-matched plates and cutlery, old cushions and rugs etc. Lots of school supplies also work well for picnics such as lunch-boxes and water bottles.
2 – Reuse
Bring your own cup/water bottle, cutlery & reusable straw etc…Using reusable cups and straws for take-away drinks and self-services not only helps to reduce this waste but also helps to reduce the cost to businesses. Tap water from home and topped up later for free at a refill.ie point will provide great hydration. A knife, fork & spoon wrapped in a cloth napkin fits in even the smallest bag.
3 – Portion Size Matters
Be realistic about how much food will be eaten. Packing too much food is exhausting and a struggle to transport, and it is likely that it won’t all be used leading to food waste. Pack the food you like and know you will eat. Also – remember to leave room for ice-cream.
4 – Spice Up Your Life
Have a favourite sauce or condiment? Use a small spice jar to transport a small quantity of your favourite spice or nominate one person on the picnic to bring the condiments and flavourings. If you must use sachets – only take what you need – nobody needs 20 sugars/ketchups – these will be wasted within minutes and they represent a big cost to business and to our environment.
5 – Bring it all Back Home
Bring any waste you might have home and dispose of it in your domestic bin ensuring any food waste goes into the food waste bin and all recyclables are placed clean, dry and lose into the recycling bin.
Most of all – enjoy the Irish great outdoors this summer.
Speaking at the launch of the My Waste campaign, Minister of State Ossian Smyth said, “We can keep costs down for local businesses up and down the country this summer by simply bringing our own cups and containers and reducing the amount of single use items we use. Aside from the positive impact for our society and economy as we reopen, this will make a real difference to our local environment – we can prevent litter and plastic waste from single use items from polluting our natural beauty spots.”
Declan Breen Waste Prevention Officer with the Eastern Midlands Regional Waste Management Planning Office, speaking on behalf of My Waste said, “By following My Waste’s simple tips holiday makers and day trippers can help protect Ireland’s beauty spots from litter and reduce unnecessary waste, all the while saving money, supporting small businesses and improving their outdoor experience.
“Simply using reusable cups and bottles is a great way to minimise the amount of waste generated. It is worth noting that reusables were not banned during the Covid-19 pandemic. Government policy continues to promote contactless coffee and advocates for reusable options. There are also 1,500 free tap water points in businesses, public buildings and outdoor locations thanks to Refill Ireland,” he/she advised.
“After such a difficult year, it is important that we can enjoy all that Irish great outdoors have to offer. This can be achieved in a very stress-free way, by packing light or purchasing some edibles on route, using items we already have at home, and keeping that keep cup or water bottle close to hand.”