Charity calls for less plastic consumption in Causeway this Christmas

With the festive season getting underway, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful is calling on households across Causeway Coast and Glens to be more mindful when it comes their plastic consumption.

The charity’s civic pride initiative, Live Here Love Here, is highlighting the many plastics we should aim to avoid using this Christmas including wrapping paper, glitter, decorations and partyware, all used only once before they’re carelessly discarded.

Chris Gourley, Waste and Pollution Strategic Lead at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said: “Plastic pollution is a problem all year round, but our consumption at Christmas leads to a significantly higher amount of waste, of which the most problematic components are single-use plastics.

"Designed to be used just once and then thrown away, single-use plastics are in our lives for a very short period but can take up to 1000 years to degrade in landfill. Most households will admit to turning a blind eye to waste amid the festivities in previous years, and whilst we recognise that not all plastics can be avoided, the ask at the top of our Christmas list this year is for people to be more mindful and adopt the refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle mantra when shopping and gifting.”

Pictured L-R, Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and Chris Gourley, Waste and Pollution Strategic Lead at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

The environmental charity suggests easy swaps and alternatives, starting with bringing our own shopping bags when hitting the high street and investing in a reusable cup to avoid discarding the drinks packaging from our beloved festive drinks. It also says that whilst gift wrapping may be tempting it’s purchased in abundance and negatively impacts the environment.

Chris continued: “The glittery, shiny wrapping, ribbons and name tags all look great, but they’re often packaged in plastic film and nearly always not recyclable. It ends up decomposing at landfill releasing toxic substances into the soil and water which human and animals then absorb. Brown paper or newspaper is a great alternative and can be nicely decorated with reusable ribbon.

"If you do receive a gift that’s in a gift box, bag or wrapped in the shiny paper this Christmas, we’d recommend holding on to it and reusing it next year instead of throwing in the bin. And it’s not just about what the gifts are wrapped in, we can make positive changes in the gifts we give too. A favourite gift of mine to give is a subscription to a music or book app but equally effective are event tickets, restaurant vouchers, plants – the list is endless.”

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful also advises consumers in Causeway Coast and Glens not to rush to purchase new plastic ornaments and to instead reuse what they might already have from previous years. It also points out DIY decorations made from old Christmas cards and wrapping paper can be more environmentally friendly, and more financially savvy.

Chris explains: “Our approach to Christmas is to be mindful of waste and unnecessary purchases. In doing so we’re not only helping our environment, but also reducing household costs during a cost-of-living crisis that is already impeding many households.”

For more advice on reducing your plastic footprint this Christmas visit www.liveherelovehere.org/plasticpromise