NI Charity joins with NI Water and Antrim club to tackle plastic litter

Local environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful is reaching out to the sporting community across Northern Ireland to tackle pointless plastic.  Sports clubs are being encouraged to complete the ‘Tackling Plastic Organisation Toolkit’ – a five- step guide that can help organisations to navigate reducing their use of plastic.  Steps are designed to showcase organisations efforts by creating a straight forward action plan, saving organisations money and helping to limit plastics entering the environment.  Organisations that complete the toolkit receive an official certificate and sticker to promote them as a ‘Tackling Plastic Organisation’ – demonstrating their commitment to helping the environment.

St. Mary’s, Rasharkin is one such club that has recently completed the toolkit. The County Antrim Gaelic Athletic Club has made sustainable strides during the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes piloting a GAA Green Club initiative. One of the areas this club is focusing on is eliminating single-use plastic water bottles. NI Water has provided the club with reusable water bottles and shower timers to monitor water usage.

Karol Doherty, Vice Chair at St. Mary’s GAC Rasharkin comments:

“It’s great to be part of the GAA Green Club initiative and work with statutory bodies and other organisations in this area. We are currently implementing the Tackling Plastic Toolkit and can say it’s really helped us to understand our starting point and focus ideas into realistic action. We will be encouraging all club players / members to use reusable bottles and our refill station. We want to reduce single-use plastic – on our pitch and off the pitch – to do our bit to tackle pointless plastic.”

Pat McCauley, Education Officer at NI Water said:

“NI Water has a strong focus on the environment and we are committed to tackling the problems caused by plastic bottles which block up our rivers and drains, and pollute our seas. By switching to a reusable bottle, people can help turn the tide in helping to reduce plastic waste. Our drinking water is 99% pure and we want everyone to benefit from it.”

The Live Here Love Here team behind the program believe that the Tackling Plastic Organisation Toolkit can prepare sports clubs for a more sustainable future. Claire Leonard, Tackling Plastics Communications Officer at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful comments: “Since we issued the Litter Composition Report in March 2019, we have had an influx of local organisations seeking advice on changes they can make to join the effort to tackle plastic.  In response, we created this toolkit that gives organisations the tools they need to understand how they can make changes for the better as a member of our community.”

Claire continues: “The templates provided help organisations audit their current situation and highlight where change is needed – it then rewards their efforts, helping to promote that they are joining this fight and evoking change. It is our vision that every business and organisation in Northern Ireland will download this toolkit and even in the smallest way – strive to eradicate pointless plastic.”

Many of the offending items identified in a recent Litter Composition Report 2019-20 commissioned by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful were linked to food industry such as single-use plastic bottles, takeaway cups and confectionary wrappers. There are up to 1.3 million littered items on Northern Ireland’s streets at any one time, with 71% containing plastic*. The toolkit also has information on current EU Directives, examples of how to streamline businesses use of plastic and even how to create an Environmental Policy.

If you’re involved in the sporting community and want your community to get involved, contact Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful on

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