Tuesday 18 September 2018

Ireland’s first plastic free café opens today

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Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Ireland’s first plastic free café opened today in University College Cork.

The ‘Bio Green Café’ opened in the the Biosciences Institute following a refurbishment.

All plastic drink bottles have been removed from the café and have been replaced with glass bottles and cans.

Customers won’t find any plastic sachets of sauces, disposal cutlery, or plastic wrapped snacks. Instead they can expect chocolate bars with traditional paper wrapping.

Customers will be charged 10 cents for compostable takeaway cups, 40 cents for compostable takeaway food containers and five cents for deli bar wrapping.

The café has an integrated water fountain system with built-in washing capability for students and staff to use.

Fresh vegetables and produce are delivered daily from the university’s farm along and local producer Waterfall Farms in Curraheen. Vegetables are delivered with no wrapping in long life containers which are returned to the supplier each day.

Chicken, ham and cheese are sourced from suppliers in the English Market and these products are also delivered with no wrapping in reusable return containers.

Meanwhile, an extensive recycling and waste segregation area has been installed in the café and the station also contains an integrated digital scales.

General and recyclable waste volumes have now been reduced by 95% on March and April activity levels, the café says.

Michael Gleeson, CEO of KSG Catering said: “It has been great to work on this project in collaboration with UCC and both students and staff have embraced the changes in a really positive way.  It feels like we have made a significant step forward in turning things around and reducing plastic use on campus”.

Patrick O’ Shea, UCC President, said: “It was once said that that there was ‘a great future in plastics’. Now we know that a sustainable future must judiciously use renewable and sustainable resources.  We are delighted to partner with KSG to develop the Bio Green Café for our students and staff, and as a model for a sustainable future for all."

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