Melia Hotels commit to Eliminate Single Use Plastics in 2018

Meliá to Eliminate Single-Use Plastics in All Its Hotels in 2018

PALMA, MALLORCA, SPAIN—Meliá Hotels International says it will eliminate single-use plastics in all its hotels in 2018. Gabriel Escarrer, the Executive Vice President and CEO of Meliá, made the announcement during his speech at the Group’s General Shareholders’ Meeting, a decision justified by the fact that “great customer experiences have to be compatible with respect for the planet, and plastic pollution is a global challenge which affects all destinations.”

Escarrer highlighted the positive impact the decision will have: in 2017 more than 22 million plastic bottles were consumed in company hotels. Elimination will avoid more than 15 tons of CO2 emissions each year generated by waste disposal. This “further step in Meliá’s fight against climate change” affects bottles, cups, bags, straws and coasters which will immediately be replaced by reusable materials.

The Meliá CEO recalled that the prestigious “Carbon Disclosure Project” index has named Meliá one of the world’s leading companies in the fight against climate change. Escarrer reminded the audience that “combatting climate change and reducing emissions has been part of our strategy for years, with well-established energy efficiency programs in hotels and agreements with suppliers regarding the exclusive use of renewable energy, and was recently further ratified by the company assuming the commitments defined at the Paris Climate Summit.”

Most Industry Risks Related to Climate Change

Escarrer highlighted the importance of the tourism industry mobilizing to combat climate change. According to the Global Risk Report, four of the five biggest risks for the industry over the next 10 years are related to climate change, including extreme weather events, natural disasters or water shortages. “The tourism business depends to a large extent on the sustainability of destinations,” he said, “something of which we are very aware at Meliá as an international leader in resort hotels.”

For the Meliá CEO, the decision to eliminate single-use plastics from its entire value chain will have a significant impact. In 2017 alone more than 22 million plastic bottles were consumed in company hotels. Escarrer stated that, “Great customer experiences have to be compatible with respect for the planet,” and also mentioned that climate change is one of the material issues that is of greatest interest to its stakeholders, as stated in its Annual Report.

The company has already drawn up a roadmap to replace single-use plastics (bottles, cups, bags, coasters and straws etc.) with biodegradable or environmentally-friendly alternatives before the end of 2018, and also from in-room cosmetics as soon as possible.

Escarrer firmly believes in the fundamental role that companies must play in contributing to the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, and affirmed that “the business world, institutions and society in general has to get involved and work together in combatting climate change and tackling other major global challenges.”

Bord Bia confirm Consumers are concerned about Single Use Plastics

 The War on Single-Use Plastic

Article Date: 22/06/2018  – Anna Ryan, Sustainability Development, Bord Bia – The Irish Food Board

The topic of plastic waste has come to the forefront of the minds of both businesses and consumers. An estimated 50% of all plastic produced in used once and then disposed of. Research shows that should current habits continue, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Following demand from consumers, and further motivated by the EU’s proposed ban on single-use plastics, businesses have put measures in place to reduce the amount of single-use plastic consumed.

Plastic straws are an issue that many companies are tackling. In May 2018, The Restaurant Authority of Ireland released a statement encouraging its 2,500 members to implement a ban on plastic straws in their restaurants. McDonald’s recently announced that it will no longer provide plastic straws in their restaurants across the UK and Ireland, opting for a paper alternative instead. The restaurant chain has also committed to having 100% of its packaging come from “renewable, recycled or certified” sources by 2025. Burger King also have a similar plan to phase out plastic straws in their restaurants.

Furthermore, the GAA announced that it was banning single-use plastic in Croke Park, with items such as straws, coffee cups and cutlery being replaced with environmentally friendly alternatives by the end of 2018. This shift in viewpoint is not just limited to the foodservice sector, with IKEA committing to removing all single-use plastic from its product range and in-store restaurants by 2020.

Single-use coffee cups are also an item that produce a large amount of avoidable waste. A number of coffee chains, such as Insomnia, Frank & Honest and Bewley’s, have introduced compostable coffee cups at their locations. Other chains are encouraging consumers to bring their own reusable cup into store, eliminating the need for a takeaway cup entirely. Butler’s Chocolate Cafés, Lolly & Cooks and Caffè Nero are among some who offer discounts or other incentives to consumers who bring their own reusable cup. For example, Pret A Manger, the UK-based sandwich chain, offers a 50p discount on hot drinks to consumers who bring a reusable cup.

This movement away from single-use plastic aligns with consumers’ mind-sets. Research conducted by Kantar found that 44% of consumers are concerned about single-use plastic, with 70% actively changing their behaviour regarding their consumption of the material. Findings as part of Bord Bia’s Consumer Lifestyle Trend “Responsible Living” also align, with particular focus on the “War on Waste” sub-trend.

For more information please contact Anna.Ryan@bordbia.ie

Slice of sustainability – Galway Pizza Restaurant responds to consumers demands for compostable Single Use Disposables

GHP Comment:  A perfect example of a business listening to their customers and taking action – and by aligning their business with their customers desires, binding them as customers – this is not alone environmentally sustainable its financially sustainable – even if there is an extra cost for the service.  It is a pity that so few tourism and hospitality businesses lack the same vision.

Irish Times – Saturday, 7th July – – Marie Claire Rigby     

Slice of sustainability

The Dough Bros woodfired pizza business in Galway gets through 200,000 brown bags, the same number of disposable knives and forks, and 150,000 paper napkins each year. Now, thanks to sixth class students at Scoil Íde in Salthill, who were investigating sustainability and wrote letters to some of their favourite places to eat, the business has made the switch to biodegradable.

“I was blown away by the letter,” says Eugene Greaney, co-owner of The Dough Bros. “As soon as I read it, I ran down to a local cafe, Gerona. I knew they were using combustible disposables and asked for information on the supplier. Within 20 minutes I had rung the supplier, Vegware, arranged a meeting and a quotation on changing our cutlery, napkins and brown bags.”

“The students in Scoil Íde are our customers and we are so encouraged to see this next generation taking action and telling us how to be better,” says co-owner Ronan Greaney.

The restaurant is investing significantly in the students’ suggestion. “It’s a huge shift and it comes with a cost, but it’s not all bad. The cutlery, for example, is four times the price, but we will encourage people to use less. It’s up to us to educate our staff and customers,” Eugene Greaney says.

“The response alone was good, but the fact that the students can see that they made real changes happen will show them that each and every one of them can make change happen,” said Ms Conneelly, the students’ teacher.

Supermac’s Joins the war against Single Use Plastics

Supermac’s goes green as new Glan agus Glas initiative rolls out across all outlets

 

Supermac’s is rolling out a new initiative across all of its outlets in an effort to become a ‘greener’ franchise.Five significant changes are being made in each fast food restaurant as part of the Glan agus Glas plan.

Paper straws are being introduced to replace plastic ones and only 100pc recyclable cups and biodegradable burger wrap will be used.

To reduce unnecessary waste, dispensers are also being put in place for sachets and napkins in each outlet.

After a trial period of the initiative in the firm’s Westport branch, the decision to create a ‘Green Team’ in each outlet was made.

Supermac’s MD Pat McDonagh made the announcement at the official opening of the newly redeveloped Casey’s Service Station in Roscommon town.

“We recognise the strain that single use plastics are having on our environment and that every little bit counts,” Supermac’s MD Pat McDonagh said.

“These are real initiatives and not targets. We have already started working with Irish companies in Ennis and Belfast to supply the Glan agus Glasprogramme and customers will see these changes immediately. All of our cups will be 100pc recyclable by September, our burger wrap is biodegradable and we will start the process of introducing paper straws immediately.”

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten, who attended Casey’s opening, said that “Supermac’s is leading by example”.

Supermac’s currently has 110 outlets across Ireland with three more scheduled to open in the next six weeks.

Pat and his wife Una have also developed The Barack Obama Plaza in Moneygall, the Tipperary Town Plaza, the Mallow N20 Plaza, the Galway Plaza near Loughrea and the Charlestown Service Station in Mayo.

Source – The Irish Independent

War Against Plastic – Update

GHP Comment:  Many tour operators and hotel companies are taking an active approach to minimising or eradicating plastic from their supply chain. The EU is preparing a draft directive that will take 8+ years to implement – with no doubt an extreme watering down of its proposals by vested interests.  The challenge is quite simple and the solution is equally simple – Step 1 – stop buying products you supply to your guests that are defined as Single Use – Step 2 – Start working with your trade organisation, government agencies, semi-state waste organisations, suppliers, etc. to ensure that back-of-house plastics, where necessary within the supply chain, can be easily recycled.

What is stopping the hotel sector from taking this simple step forward?  As always it is the prospect that it will cost them money – so we see PR stunts all over the world to pretend that the sector is going green by announcing plastic straw bans whilst taking no real positive step.  Is this really surprising?  After all, its just business and all businesses must minimise costs.  The problem with this approach is that your customers are “Plastic Aware” and are concerned and as tourists don’t want to feel that they are part of the problem.  Plus tourism is fundamentally based on the environment – more waste in the environment damages the marketplace.

Wouldn’t it be great if the Wild Atlantic Way businesses adopted the Plastic Smart standard as a principle – what a message that would send to millions of visitors.  What are the chances of that happening in Ireland within the next 5 years?………………….where is the leadership to encourage this move…what are Failte Ireland doing to actively promote environmental sustainability to the thousands of small tourism businesses benefiting from the WAW?…………..I cannot see any!

It is great to see companies such as Red Carnation, Sonesta, etc. taking a positive approach as they also know that as more and more businesses demand alternative packaging the market will respond and the unit cost will fall.  So come on, get engaged, don’t just sit there waiting for someone else to take a positive step.

The following article  should be of interest to those who are concerned………

The last (plastic) straw: travel and its environmental responsibilities

Green travel

Some airlines, hotels and tour operators are now addressing the issue of plastics pollution but activists believe the solution requires everyone to take a stand

 

Isabel Choat, The Guardian

For decades the image of a brightly coloured plastic straw in a cocktail against a backdrop of sea and sunset signalled one thing – carefree holidays. But 2018 is the year the travel industry will say adios not just to plastic straws but all single-use plastic.

Today, those little plastic tubes are a symbol not of fun times but of the catastrophic damage our throw-away culture is doing to the planet. Photographs of straws littering the seabed and beaches are on every news site and eco-conscious social media account – along with a litany of grim statistics and stark warnings: 480 billion plastic bottles sold worldwide in 2016; one trillion single-use plastic bags used every year; more than half a million plastic straws used every day around the world. If we continue to generate plastic waste at the current rate approximately 12 billion tonnes will be in landfills or the natural environment by 2050.

Figures like these combined with the ‘Blue Planet effect’ have prompted travel companies to act. In the past six months cruise companies Hurtigruten and Fred Olsen, adventure operators Exodus, Lindblad Expeditions and KE Adventure, Edition hotels, US glamping site Under Canvas and the Travel Corporation, whose brands include Red Carnation hotels, Contiki and Uniworld, have all introduced a part or complete ban on single-use plastics on their trips.

Others companies are building rubbish collection into holidays in remote locations. This year the Mountain Company is asking each trekker booked onto one of its trips to Nepal, Pakistan, India or Bhutan to pick up 1kg of rubbish. The long-term goal is for litter-picking to become standard procedure for every Mountain Company group.

This is the year the corporate world woke up to the scale of our plastic problem and the travel industry is no exception, Louise Edge, Greenpeace UK

Some tour operators have gone further, introducing holidays aimed specifically at helping travellers “quit” plastic. This month up to 15 travellers are taking part in the first Peloton Against Plastic, a 27-day cycling tour launched by adventure specialist Intrepid. Along the way cyclists will meet local organisations tackling the problem and 10% of the profits will go towards Cambodian charity, Rehash Trash. Undiscovered Mountains, a much smaller adventure operator based in the southern French Alps, has advised travellers to leave all plastic behind and is to provide plastic-free accommodation on a dedicated trip.

These initiatives are not ground-breaking: luxury resort group Soneva banned plastic straws in 1998 and stopped importing bottled water in 2008, but from this year companies pledging to reduce plastic waste will be the majority rather than the pioneering few. We may be drowning in plastic but the tide is starting to turn.

“This is the year the corporate world woke up to the scale of our plastic problem and the travel industry is no exception. From airlines to cruise lines we have heard a raft of measures aimed at cutting throwaway plastic,” says Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK.

“But there’s a lot more ground to cover. Some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations are in coastal areas, sometimes in countries already awash with plastic waste. Unless we tackle the problem at the source, more plastic will keep washing up on beaches. There’s a lot that travel operators and hotel chains can do to cut plastic waste, from eliminating sachets and disposable cups to encouraging the use of refill stations,” says Edge.

So far, most of the action has been taken by large companies with dedicated sustainability managers and a vested economic interest in keeping the environment they sell as pristine as possible. However, Joanne Hendrickx hopes to target smaller, three- and four-star hotels through her online toolkit Travel without Plastic.

Hendrickx says she reached “peak plastic” during a stay at a US hotel where breakfast was served exclusively in plastic dishes with plastic cutlery wrapped in plastic.

“I was watching the waiter clear it away and he must have filled three bins. Actually seeing it piling up before my eyes pushed me over the edge. I thought I can’t contribute to this.”

So far 100 hotels have downloaded the toolkit, which advises on ways to minimise plastic waste and, crucially for small hotels, the potential economic impact of switching to environmentally-friendly alternatives.

“We do all the research and set out the pros and cons of switching. For example, if you take toiletry miniatures out of rooms, what do you replace them with, what are the cost implications?”

Exactly what effect these initiatives and bans will have is yet to be seen. The travel industry is huge – according to the World Tourism Organization(UNWTO) international tourist arrivals grew 7% in 2017, reaching 1.3 billion globally – but so is the problem, with headlines highlighting how plastic may outweigh fish by 2050.

Even someone aware of the issue, who takes their own stainless steel water bottle on holiday, can end up producing a mini-mountain of plastic waste before they reach their destination – from disposing of water bottles and cosmetics at security to buying miniature toiletries in duty free and then working their way through endless plastic cups of water and hot drinks in flight.

Airports say they are doing their bit. Gatwick recycles all plastic bottles and says all food and drink outlets offer free tap water, although it only has five water fountains across its two terminals (compared with 100 at Heathrow). Until recently the focus on air travel and pollution was almost exclusively on emissions but plastic footprint is massive too. In 2016 airlines generated 5.2m tonnes of cabin waste, a problem that is only just starting to be addressed. In March, Ryanair announced it would eliminate all non-recyclable plastics within five years as part of a new environment policy. Others are more vague about the level of their waste reduction. British Airways has stated it is “actively seeking to source non-plastic alternatives where possible”.

But campaigners are confident that consumer awareness is high enough for the momentum to build into meaningful action. Plastic Free July, a grassroots campaign that started with 40 people in Australia in 2011, estimates that two million people from 159 countries will participate in this month’s pledge to reduce their use of plastic. Sales of water filters are on the rise. Water-to-Go, which sells a filtration bottle that eliminates 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants in water, giving travellers a viable alternative to buying bottled water, has seen its biggest growth in sales since it launched in 2010.

Christine Mackay, founder of the Travelers Against Plastic (TAP) campaign, who also runs a non-profit adventure company, Crooked Trails, has been using filter devices for years. Where once she drew strange looks, now fellow travellers ask where they can get one from.

“There will be a tipping point when it becomes embarrassing to hold a plastic water bottle. In five years time no one will be holding one.”

Resources and how to get involved

  • Responsible Travel’s new plastic-free guide features 40 holidays, the majority of them sailing or diving trips.
  • PlasticPatrolis a nationwide campaign to rid the UK’s inland waterways of plastic pollution. It is organising a series of clean-up events at eight locations across England this summer (14 July-7 August). Just show up at one of the designated locations and they will provide the bags and litter pickers and dispose of the rubbish afterwards – and a paddleboard for those who want to help from the water rather than the towpath.
  • Travelers Against Plasticlists 250 travel companies that have signed its pledge to reduce the use of plastic water bottles, which it plans to extend to all single-use plastic. Individual travellers can also commit to reducing their use.
  • Wateratairports.comlists water fountains at airports around the world.
  • The Cabin Wasteproject looks at how airline waste can be disposed of in a more environmentally-friendly way.
  • Surfers Against Sewageis inviting people to become plastic-free community leaders with the aim of establishing 125 plastic free communities by 2020.

 

 

Sandymount Hotel is Europe’s Greenest Hotel – Again

25th World Travel Awards in Greece.

Dublin’s Sandymount Hotel has retained its status as ‘Europe’s Leading Green Hotel’, winning the award for a second year running.  The venue beat off competition from the likes of ICE Hotel in Sweden, Vila Vita Parc in Portugal and Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo in Cannes to take the title for the second consecutive year.

Commenting on the accomplishment, family directors at the Sandymount Hotel John and Gerard Loughran asserted, “We are truly honoured to again scoop the award for ‘Europe’s Leading Green Hotel’. 2017 was a successful year for us, achieving a four-star upgrade from Fáilte Ireland following significant refurbishment and winning this award for the first time.

“Heading into 2018, we wanted to ensure we progressed our eco-friendly and sustainable approaches and have a ‘green’ team in place at the hotel. Our dedicated green team ensure we continuously find ways to introduce additional measures to offer the best environmentally friendly practices, in line with our overall guest offerings and experiences. We are delighted to be recognised as ‘Europe’s Leading Green Hotel’ 2018 and we thank everyone who voted for us.”

Listen to John hereInterview

In 2013, the Sandymount Hotel took an eco-friendly and sustainable approach to achieve a greener, cleaner hotel by reducing both energy and water consumption. Fast forward to 2018 and 95% of the ‘green’ award winning hotel’s waste is now recycled. The venue uses biodegradable compostable coffee cups and lids. When catering for large conferences and events and with busy guests looking to grab a coffee on the go, the hotel’s operators assert that it is important that these are 100% recyclable.

Furthermore, 100% compostable eco-friendly straws are used in the hotel’s Line Out Bar. The venue also collects and recycles discarded soap and toiletries, and the installation of aerator shower heads has reduced the water consumption of the hotel’s showers by 47% per guest.

Meanwhile, 26% of the electricity used by the hotel comes from renewable sources, with the venue now using 22% less electricity than it did in 2013, largely due to a switch to 100% energy efficient lightbulbs. Rewards and incentives are also offered to guests who help the hotel take a ‘greener’ approach.Irish hotel group

Q-Mharc Gnó le Gaeilge Launched

Q-Mharc Gnó le Gaeilge was recently launched at an event in Croke Park in Dublin. QMharc Gnó le Gaeilge is a new voluntary code of best practice, certified to ISO 9001:2008 by NSAI and developed by Foras na Gaeilge in conjunction with government and industry specification.

The all-island Q-Mharc Gnó le Gaeilge award system gives recognition to business organisations who evaluate, develop and capitalise on the use of Irish as an additional business and marketing tool throughout the island of Ireland. Businesses who took part in the Q-Mharc Gnó le Gaeilge pilot scheme were presented with awards at today’s event and it is now open to small and medium sized enterprises throughout the island of Ireland.

Minister of State for Irish, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Joe McHugh TD, said, “Foras na Gaeilge are to be commended for developing Q-Mharc Gnó le Gaeilge, as this is the only code of bilingual best practice that exists internationally. This pioneering voluntary code of best practice is ISO-accredited and is further enhanced by numerous supports from Foras na Gaeilge, developed to assist private sector businesses in incorporating the use of Irish as a complementarymarketing tool. My department is delighted to support this exemplary initiative and encourages private sector businesses to strongly consider the associated benefits of attaining Q-Mharc Gnó le Gaeilge recognition.”

Foras na Gaeilge Chairperson, Pól Ó Gallchóir, said, “Today’s event is a big day for the business sector and for bilingualism on an international level as Q-Mharc Gnó le Gaeilge is the first official award scheme throughout the world which gives recognition to excellence in bilingualism in business. I commend the businesses who have been awarded Q-Mharc Gnó le Gaeilge today; these businesses are excellent examples of the benefits associated with providing a bilingual service, a service which will be of benefit to their own business as well as their customers in the years ahead.”

Q-Mharc Gnó le Gaeilge demonstrates awareness and a commitment to bilingualism in business and culture through language, enhancing indigenous characteristics or ‘Irishness’. As well as that, it shows marketing leadership in the provision of innovative customer service. Businesses who are interested in providing a bilingual service can register with Foras na Gaeilge and they will be given advice free of charge. Funding support will be provided during 2018 through Foras na Gaeilge’s Business Support Scheme, supporting businesses to provide signage, packaging, websites and printed marketing material through Irish, as well as English

Irish scientists part of €9m project to investigate bee population decline

Irish scientists have been asked to contribute to an international investigation of the global decline of bee populations by identifying the particular causes of stress which are wiping out many species.

Pollination experts from Trinity College Dublin will be playing a central role in the €9 million project, funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, by working with farmers and beekeepers across Europe “to establish a baseline of what’s stressing bees in agricultural ecosystems”.

Bees play a critical role in the foodchain, but are vulnerable to loss of flowers because they feed on nectar and pollen throughout their lives. Decline in populations in Ireland and across the globe has been accelerating in recent years, especially among native varieties. Of the 100 species of bees in Ireland a third are threatened with extinction.

Pollinators face multiple threats including agrochemicals, pathogens, habitat loss and climate change, according to the TCD professor of botany, Jane Stout, who is leading the Irish input.

The project, named Pan-European Assessment, Monitoring and Mitigation of Stressors on the Health of Bees (PoshBee), will run for five years. It aims to understand the impacts of multiple pressures on a range of bee species and develop new tools to help reduce risks and negative impacts, Ms Stout said.

It is being co-ordinated by former TCD zoologist Prof Mark Brown, now at Royal Holloway University of London, and will bring together 42 partners from across Europe, seven beekeeping associations, eight farming organisations, four companies and 23 academic and government research organisations.

Prof Stout will direct researchers across eight European countries in conducting fieldwork to assess real levels of exposure that bees have to chemical, nutritional and pathogenic stressors. In Ireland, this work will be conducted in collaboration with Teagasc and the Federation of Irish Beekeepers Associations.

“It’s thought that a combination of pressures, including agrochemicals, disease and loss of floral resources, which provide bees with their nutrition, is contributing to bee decline,” she said. “We are aimig to quantify this in the field . . . to try to establish exposure hazards, and ultimately develop tools, screening protocols, and practice and policy-relevant outputs to local, national, European, and global stakeholders.”

Source – The Irish Times

Repak Annual Report 2017

Repak, Ireland’s only government-approved recycling compliance scheme, has released its annual report, announcing that Ireland has surpassed all recycling and recovery targets in 2017 for the twentieth year in a row.

In total, Repak funded the recovery and recycling of 817,888 tonnes of packaging waste in 2017, an increase of 23,040 tonnes from 2016 and the highest volume of recycling ever recorded in Ireland.

In 2017, Ireland’s recycling levels increased by 4%. In total, 620,380 tonnes were recycled in 2017, up 26,389 tonnes on 2016. Materials sent for recovery reduced by 3,349 to 197,508, demonstrating the impact of positive recycling behaviour. Household recycling increased by 11,999 tonnes (4.6%) to 268,118 and commercial recycling increased by 14,390 (4.3%) to 352,000.

Repak’s annual report also confirmed that in 2017, the not-for-profit scheme delivered a 69% recycling rate and 94% recovery rate with all materials once again surpassing EU targets.

Commenting on another strong year for Irish recycling, Séamus Clancy, CEO of Repak said: “I am pleased to report that 2017 was another good year for recycling and recovery in Ireland. A 4% increase in recycling rates across all materials and market segments is a significant achievement that our members and the public should be very proud of.

“This marked increase in recycling rates for the commercial sector and households nationwide, is a testament to the hard work and commitment to the environment by both our members and the public.

“The results today show that Repak’s investment in consumer education to reduce levels of contamination are paying dividends. Repak wishes to extend its thanks to the Irish public, who have played a massive role in improving the country’s recovery and recycling rates.

“I am also pleased to announce that recycling levels across all material categories, plastic ,glass,paper.metals and wood  are ahead of European Union targets. This demonstrates that as a nation, we are not only increasing our recycling rates, but in a sustainable way across all materials.”

At last week’s AGM, Repak also announced its plans to launch a national plastic strategy in Q3 of 2018.

Speaking about this significant announcement, Séamus Clancy said: “Repak is initiating the development of a Plastic Recycling Strategy to help Ireland reach its targets and achieve the new recycling targets set by the European Commission for 2025 and 2030.

“This strategy will set out recommended measures for itself, its members and for all stakeholders. Repak intends that the recommendations of the Plastic Packaging Recycling Strategy will inform the national debate and, where appropriate, be part of the Irish Government’s response to Circular Economy Packaging targets.”

Repak Prevent & Save Programme
Through the Repak Prevent & Save programme, Repak works with its members to help them reduce packaging at source. Through site surveys, the packaging technologist team help to identify opportunities to optimise packaging, reduce costs and prevent packaging waste.

In 2017, Repak worked with over 40 members, including – Lidl, Aldi, Tesco, and Musgraves to help identify areas in which they could reduce packaging at source. A report commissioned by Repak in 2017 shows savings of 857,000 tonnes of packaging since 2006.

Commenting on significant next steps for Repak in 2018, Séamus Clancy said: “Plastic is, without question, the biggest environmental issue of our time and how we respond to it today will dictate our planet’s health in the future.

“Today, we recycle 34% of all plastics, ahead of our target 22.5%. The new plastic recycling targets of 50% by 2025 and 55% by 2030 are ambitious and Repak is working with all stakeholders including policymakers, producers, recovery operators and consumers to help Ireland achieve these targets in the future with the development of this Plastic Recycling Strategy.”

To view the Repak Annual Report 2017 – Click Here

Energy Price increases to come due to Government Policies

GHP.ie Comment:  There is much talk about the “fines” Ireland will pay as we fail to achieve our Climate Change targets for 2020, 2030 and 2050.  Both businesses and householders must stop thinking about this as some sort of national fine – any penalties Ireland has to pay will be paid by consumers in the form of increased energy taxes, in one form or other.  It is important that businesses especially engage in this debate and demand action from government to take action that will minimise these fines – the closure of the peat burning power stations and the conversion of Moneypoint to natural gas would be major positive steps.

This article from the Irish Times, 15/6/18, delivers the message well….

For peat’s sake, climate change policy is crazy

John FitzGerald

Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions are steadily rising, and the EPA projects a continuous increase for most of the next decade. As a result, not only are we certain to miss our 2020 goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we are also more likely to miss our 2030 target. Our 2050 commitment under the Paris agreement – to largely decarbonise the economy – is also in serious jeopardy unless the situation is rapidly redressed.

Each year, the agency publishes two sets of projections – one on the basis of existing policies and another taking account of “additional measures” that have been agreed during the previous year, but are not yet implemented. It was very striking that the additional measures announced last year, which the EPA numbers took into account, actually made things worse.

This is the first time that policy in a particular year has actually added to the problem of global warming rather than making a positive, though limited, contribution to reducing emissions. It should be noted, however, that the EPA’s projections do not yet factor in any positive benefits from the National Development Plan.

The key factor behind this perverse turn in climate policy, identified in the EPA numbers, was the decision to continue subsidising peat-fired electricity generation stations through to 2030. Peat is the most damaging fuel in terms of global warming, even worse than coal.

Very damaging

As well as being very damaging from an environmental point of view, generating electricity from peat is also uneconomic. This year, consumers are paying around €3.50 on every electricity bill to subsidise the continued use of peat for power generation. This “public service obligation” is justified on the basis that it supports employment in the midlands and energy security, albeit at the cost of much higher emissions of greenhouse gases.

The total sum involved amounts to a subsidy of more than €100 million a year to peat generation. Currently a little under a thousand people in Bord na Móna are employed on supplying peat for electricity.

Thus the current subsidy per job involved is at least €100,000 a year. The Bord na Móna annual report indicates that, in the year 2016/2017, its workers’ average pay was €50,000. In other words, the subsidy per job is around twice what the workers involved actually earn.

If the peat-fired power stations were closed tomorrow, and the workers involved continued to be employed on their current wages, subsidising these jobs would only cost €50 million, not €100 million. Electricity consumers would pay less to subsidise these jobs, and Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions would fall substantially as a result of discontinuing this polluting fuel use.

The EPA’s figures also make clear that emissions of greenhouse gases from peat-fired electricity generation is only part of the environmental damage that will arise over the coming decade from continuing this activity.

The current policy is to substitute wood (biomass) for some of the peat used in generating electricity. By using this wood in peat-fired power stations, Ireland risks missing its obligation to develop renewable sources of heat, and may attract significant EU penalties as a result.

Wet bogland is an important carbon sink, where bogs take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and fix it in peat. This feature is lost when turf is harvested and dried, even before further carbon is released when burnt to generate power.

The new plan to keep peat-fired electricity going till 2030 is a lose-lose-lose policy. It will add significantly to Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions, it will cost the people of Ireland a lot of money, and it will see less carbon dioxide being absorbed into our peat bogs.

This is misguided policy. We should plan for the closure by 2020 of peat-fired generation. A limited amount of the saving on subsidies could be used to develop alternative sustainable employment for those currently working in the sector. This would greatly benefit the environment, it would save electricity consumers a lot of money, and it would protect the livelihoods of those who are currently employed in the midlands harvesting peat – a win-win-win.

 

Meliá to Eliminate Single-Use Plastics in All Its Hotels in 2018 Source:  Green Lodging News –  July 2, 2018 PALMA, MALLORCA, SPAIN—Meliá Hotels International says it will eliminate single-use plastics in all its hotels in 2018. Gabriel Escarrer, the Executive Vice President and CEO of Meliá, made the announcement during his speech at the Group’s General Shareholders’ […]

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 The War on Single-Use Plastic Article Date: 22/06/2018  – Anna Ryan, Sustainability Development, Bord Bia – The Irish Food Board The topic of plastic waste has come to the forefront of the minds of both businesses and consumers. An estimated 50% of all plastic produced in used once and then disposed of. Research shows that should current habits […]

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GHP Comment:  A perfect example of a business listening to their customers and taking action – and by aligning their business with their customers desires, binding them as customers – this is not alone environmentally sustainable its financially sustainable – even if there is an extra cost for the service.  It is a pity that […]

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Supermac’s goes green as new Glan agus Glas initiative rolls out across all outlets   Supermac’s is rolling out a new initiative across all of its outlets in an effort to become a ‘greener’ franchise.Five significant changes are being made in each fast food restaurant as part of the Glan agus Glas plan. Paper straws are being introduced to […]

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GHP Comment:  Many tour operators and hotel companies are taking an active approach to minimising or eradicating plastic from their supply chain. The EU is preparing a draft directive that will take 8+ years to implement – with no doubt an extreme watering down of its proposals by vested interests.  The challenge is quite simple […]

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25th World Travel Awards in Greece. Dublin’s Sandymount Hotel has retained its status as ‘Europe’s Leading Green Hotel’, winning the award for a second year running.  The venue beat off competition from the likes of ICE Hotel in Sweden, Vila Vita Parc in Portugal and Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo in Cannes to take the title for the […]

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Q-Mharc Gnó le Gaeilge was recently launched at an event in Croke Park in Dublin. QMharc Gnó le Gaeilge is a new voluntary code of best practice, certified to ISO 9001:2008 by NSAI and developed by Foras na Gaeilge in conjunction with government and industry specification. The all-island Q-Mharc Gnó le Gaeilge award system gives […]

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Irish scientists have been asked to contribute to an international investigation of the global decline of bee populations by identifying the particular causes of stress which are wiping out many species. Pollination experts from Trinity College Dublin will be playing a central role in the €9 million project, funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, by […]

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Repak, Ireland’s only government-approved recycling compliance scheme, has released its annual report, announcing that Ireland has surpassed all recycling and recovery targets in 2017 for the twentieth year in a row. In total, Repak funded the recovery and recycling of 817,888 tonnes of packaging waste in 2017, an increase of 23,040 tonnes from 2016 and […]

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GHP.ie Comment:  There is much talk about the “fines” Ireland will pay as we fail to achieve our Climate Change targets for 2020, 2030 and 2050.  Both businesses and householders must stop thinking about this as some sort of national fine – any penalties Ireland has to pay will be paid by consumers in the […]

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