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Pilot scheme tackled single-use plastic and period poverty

Belfast City Council is celebrating after winning a Behaviour Change Award for tackling single-use plastic.

The council was awarded the accolade by environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful for its trailblazing free reusable period products project, which has been recognised as an impactful and pioneering initiative.

Chris Gourley, Waste and Pollutions Solutions Strategic Lead at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful comments:

“The judges for this award were thoroughly impressed by the efficiency and thoughtfulness of this project, which not only tackles plastic waste but also addresses the pressing issue of period poverty. The project not only demonstrates concern for the environment but also showcases the council’s commitment to promoting inclusivity and sustainability within the community. By offering free reusable period products, the council have provided a practical solution to reduce single-use plastic waste, helped to break down stigmas, and ensured that all individuals have access to essential products without compromising the environment.”

Plastic pollution is a global concern that poses severe threats to ecosystems, marine wildlife, and human health. By implementing innovative solutions like providing free reusable period products, councils can actively contribute to the reduction of plastic waste and create a cleaner, healthier environment for generations to come.

Belfast City Councillor and Chair of People and Communities Committee, Micky Murray comments “Introducing small positive changes to all aspects of our everyday lives with a focus on tackling environmental issues can have such a positive impact. The amount of plastic within single use period products is staggering. This pilot project is such unique way of addressing an issue that I’m confident not many people knew about. Encouraging the use of reusable, non-plastic period products is helping provide a long-term solution to dealing with plastic contaminating our general waste.

“It’s fantastic to see Belfast City Council recognised for implementing this scheme and leading from the front to normalise the use of reusable period products. I want to congratulate all of our staff for their efforts in making the scheme such a wonderful success.”

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful opened applications for this award to all Northern Ireland councils, to acknowledge and bolster their commitment to changing behaviours and habits related to single-use plastic consumption.

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful works closely with local councils to encourage new ways to avoid the proliferation of pointless plastics in our communities and to pursue alternatives that are kinder to our planet. Outlined in our strategic plan is the aim to eliminate single-use plastics in-house in all Councils in Northern Ireland by 2023. All 11 councils have signed up to the Plastic Promise - this is a pledge that councils make to reduce and phase out their use of single use plastics from day-to-day operations. Councils can use the Plastic Promise to focus on eliminating specific plastic items, and they are invited to renew their pledge as they make progress.

Chris Gourley continues, “This project serves as a model for other councils in Northern Ireland facing similar challenges, inspiring them to adopt sustainable practices and behavioural changes. Well done Belfast City Council”.