Making the sustainable choice the easy choice in take away food service
VOICE has partnered with the catering company KSG and academics from the Cleaner Production Promotion Unit in UCC to launch Ireland’s first re-usable food container scheme – ReCIRCLE Ireland, at University College Cork. The project has been funded by the UCC Living Lab Fund to bring the ReCIRCLE scheme to Ireland for the very first time.
Through this pilot, UCC food establishments will offer on-the-go food in reusable containers. A deposit will be placed on each container which will be returned to the individual when the container is returned to one of the participating food outlets, where it will be washed and ready to be used again.
“We hope that through this project we can raise the awareness of the number of single-use containers we use every day and trial a solution that will help reduce single use plastic items we use without compromising the quality of food and services we enjoy” Tad Kirakowski Project manager, VOICE.
At an average of 61kg per person per year, Ireland currently consumes almost twice the EU average plastic per person per year. Takeaway food packaging is not only associated with large quantities of waste plastic, but also inherently results in the food contamination of the material (currently one-third of recycling is contaminated), which reduces the recyclability of the material. Washable reusable containers offer an alternative to the single use containers on the market already.
“We’re very happy to be working with VOICE and KSG on this exciting Green Campus project. We look forward to introducing this tailored scheme of reusable food boxes to UCC, contributing to the university’s goal of becoming free of single-use plastics.“ Dr Niall Dunphy, CPPU Director, UCC
ReCIRCLE has quickly become established across Europe as a leader in waste reduction through circular economy innovation. “In Switzerland the project is very successful with over 1,000 Partners, also including universities and campus.” Jeanette Monrath, Managing Director at reCIRCLE AG, continuing “We are value driven and the European aspect is very important in our eyes to make a real change and not only cosmetics.”
The programme has been funded under UCC’s Living Lab fund, about which Dr. Maria Kirrane, Sustainability Officer for UCC said “This programme sees solutions to some of our most environmentally challenging issues trialled on campus, with the learnings to be shared amongst interested stakeholders. The programme will be a key element of delivering on UCC's ambitions to become single-use plastic free by 2023.”
Collaboration is central to the work of UCC Green Campus and this fund, so we are really delighted to be working with VOICE, KSG and the CPPU on this project" This project builds on the waste reduction work VOICE has championed through programmes such as Towards Zero Waste Cashel and the Conscious Cup Campaign, and addresses issues of public waste and litter highlighted in its “Out Of Sight Out of Mind” report published in July ( https://voiceireland.org/news/post.php?s=2019-05-17-voice-publishes-public-waste-out-of-sight-out-of-mind-litter-and-public-waste-report )