Dublin City University has become the first Irish University to set out to have all of their campuses become plastic-free by 2020. On Wednesday, the University announced that there were a number of single-use, disposable plastic items that would be eliminated from their campuses due to their “detrimental impact on the environment.”
The implementation began as part of the University’s Green Campuses Week, with plastic cups and glasses being removed from the University’s campuses.
According to the University, plastic items such as takeaway containers, takeaway cutlery, straws and single-use plastic bags will be gone by September of this year, and by 2020 plastic water bottles and soft drinks bottles will be eliminated from all campuses.
President of DCU, Professor Brian McCrath stated:
“Our prioritisation of sustainability as a key theme reflects DCU’s commitment to address a very real challenge, both at local and global levels. Today’s announcement is the start of a journey which will help set best practice for our students, staff and society around us.”
This decision makes DCU the first University in Ireland to commit to sustainable living in such a way. The initiative was launched by Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD, along with Professor Brian McCraith and DCU Student’s Union. She said:
“I commend DCU staff and students for their leadership on this issue. As a society we discard an incredible 80% of what we produce after a single use. We have a global and a national plastics crisis and our young people are central to solving it through leading by example and helping to change collective behaviour. I congratulate DCU on playing its part on tackling our plastics problem head on.”
During Student’s Unions elections earlier this month, DCU students voted in favour of making the University plastic free in a University Referendum.
A petition for a similar initiative is currently underway in Trinity College Dublin. Students are petitioning to “eliminate the sale and use of single-use plastics on the TCD campus”. The petition suggests that the University should introduce compost bins on campus as well as eco-friendly utensils, coffee cups and bottles in the University’s shops and cafés.
According to Green News, Ireland produces 61kg of plastic waste per person per year, making the country the top of the list of European producers of waste.