Plastic straws and nine other single use plastic items will be phased out of Ireland in the coming months.

Ireland is banning single use plastics, including straws, cotton buds and cutlery with the items set to be completely illegal by 2021.

The list is based on plastics that are most frequently found polluting European beaches with plates, cutlery and balloon sticks also included on the naughty list.

Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune said: ‘Figures show that plastic production is 20 times higher now than in the 1960s and is set to quadruple again by 2050’ which is a scary prospect.

The super power countries need to get on board with this to really make the impact that’s needed in my opinion.

For example, According to the US National Park Service, Americans use 500 million drinking straws every day. To understand just how many straws 500 million really is, this would fill over 125 school buses with straws every day. And that’s just in the US alone! Ugh, we can do better.

She also added ‘Reducing the amount of plastics in our oceans and on our beaches is vital to protect marine life and also to ensure that fish, and as a result the food chain, are not further contaminated by plastics. Ireland has led the way on the fight against plastic when it introduced the levy on plastic bags in 2002, resulting in a 90% drop in the use of plastic bags in Ireland.’

16 Easy Ways to Use Less Plastic

  1. Say no to plastic straws.

Invest in a glass, stainless steel, or bamboo straws at home. They are inexpensive and pretty to look at. When dining out, decline the straw. Or, use recyclable paper straws if you need a disposable straw. Ireland just banned the use of plastic straws, and I hope the US and other countries aren’t far behind.

Good to see McDonalds changing over to paper straws.

  1. Don’t buy plastic water bottle/Bottled water.

What a racket. Not only do plastic water bottles cost too much and pollute our oceans, they leach hormone-disrupting chemicals into the water and similar with the bottled water, the plastic ends up in your body.

Invest in a glass or stainless steel water bottle, and use an in-home water filter like the one I bought here or reverse osmosis system to filter your water.



  1. If you need disposable cups or products, use recyclable paper instead of plastic.

When you’re in need of disposable cups, plates (Summer BBQs en-route!), or anything else, opt for recyclable paper instead of plastic.

In general, always opt for glass, stainless steel, wood, bamboo, or paper over plastic.

  1. Stop using plastic bags use recyclables

You really don’t need one of those little plastic bags for every fruit or vegetable you buy. If you bring your own shopping bags, just place them inside your bag until you get to the checkout. Wash them well when you get home and wash your shopping bags every now and again. You can easily stop using dozens of plastic bags per month by doing this.

  1. Bring your own shopping bags when you shop.

An oldie but goodie. Don’t forget to bring your own shopping bags to the shop.

Plastic shopping bags are not recyclable. If you’ve been putting them in your recycle bin, they’ve still been ending up in the landfill. Bring your own bags, fit your goods in your purse/wallet after checkout, or just carry your items after purchase. For the times that you forget your bags (we all do sometimes) ask for paper instead of plastic.

  1. Store your food in glass jars or other glass containers instead of tupperware.

Beyond getting plastics out of your food (health-win!), you’ll be helping reduce the plastics in our oceans and landfills, too.

  1. Find alternatives to plastic sandwich bags.

Here are a few of my favourites:

Get a silicone bag or other reusable bag instead of using plastic sandwich bags. A Stasher looks just like a plastic sandwich bag but is made of food-grade silicone, which is safe for your body and dishwasher-safe, too.

Use paper sandwich bags instead of plastic.

You can find all of these at your local natural foods store like select store, Whole Foods, Amazon, or

  1. Look for products that use cardboard packaging or other sustainable materials instead of plastic.

When using a disposable product, look for cardboard or other recyclable packaging. We really do “vote with our euros” when it comes to what companies choose to manufacture and sell. The more you support (i.e. buy) products that don’t use plastics, the more companies will continue to go in that direction.

  1. Support restaurants and businesses that are committed to sustainable packaging.

Just like buying less plastics and more non-plastics helps, supporting restaurants that use sustainable take-out packaging will help everyone move in the right direction.

  1. Reuse the plastics that you already have as much as possible.

For the times that you do use a plastic bag, try to reuse it as much as possible. Before you throw away a piece of plastic, think, “how can I reuse this?” or, “how can I recycle this?”

And of course, recycle as much as possible. If buying plastic is a must, then choose something that is recyclable. Plastics are categorized into seven different categories, and it depends on your location and recycling service as to which ones can be recycled.

Plastic isn’t going to quickly disappear from the planet and it’s not entirely un-useful. I believe the most important thing we can do as individuals is stop using superfluous disposable plastics like straws, food containers, sandwich bags and other plastic bags

  1. Use Coffee Grounds to Exfoliate

Most conventional exfoliating face and body washes are made with plastic microbeads. A single tube of face wash can contain up to 300,000 microbeads, all of which enter the watershed when they are washed down the drain, sadly, not great for marine life. You can ditch the tube of exfoliating wash and easily make your own DIY scrub using coffee grounds mixed with coconut oil or avocado.

  1. Replace All Your Cleaning Supplies With One Natural Alternative

You can replace nearly every single cleaning spray, scrub or fluid in your home with white vinegar. Vinegar can be used to disinfect bathroom and kitchen surfaces, shine up mirrors and silverware, and even unclog drains. Add lemon and orange peels to the bottle to get a natural citrus scent.  If you buy white vinegar in bulk, go for a glass bottle.

  1. Swap Plastic Deodorisers for Essential Oils

Conventional perfumed room deodorisers not only come in plastic packaging, but they’re also filled with hidden toxins – yuck. Essential oils work just as well (if not better) than artificial perfumes, without any of the unwanted plastic or toxins. Just add a few drops of your favourite scent on the inside of the cardboard toilet paper roll for long lasting freshness in the bathroom. Or you can put a few drops mixed with water in a glass jar and add some natural wooden dowels to make a quick diffuser.

  1. Stop using takeaway cups (unless recyclable) when ordering coffee,

Bring your own reusable (One I am guilty of in the past). Simple

  1. Plastic free fruit and veg

Buy your veg/fruit free of plastic from Green Grocers instead of big chain stores selling veg/fruit wrapped in plastic and polystyrene. (and ask for paper bag)

  1. Ditch the plastic coffee pods

I love my Nespresso machine, but by god the pods are hard to recycle and the cheaper copies are made of plastic. Buy the aluminium ones and recycle them or buy the refillable ones and re use.

Have I missed any?


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