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Image by OCG Saving The Ocean



"Waste is a design flaw"
-Nate Morris, Chairman and CEO at Rubicon

"The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a collection of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean. Marine debris is litter that ends up in oceans, seas, and other large bodies of water." 

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also known as the Pacific trash vortex, spans waters from the West Coast of North America to Japan. The patch is actually comprised of the Western Garbage Patch, located near Japan, and the Eastern Garbage Patch, located between the U.S. states of Hawaii and California. 

great pacific garbage patch.jpg

The Lowdown On Waste

8 Million Tonnes

It is estimated that 8 million tonnes of plastic waste enters the oceans every year - about 1 truckload every minute, or the equivalent of over 26,600 Boeing 747 planes.

Source: CNBC

34% & 23%

34% - thats how much high-income countries, only 16% of the world's population, generate of the world's waste
23% - East Asia and Pacific region generate close to a quarter, 23%, of all waste

One Third

Only one third of waste from high-income countries is recovered through recycling and composting. Only 4% of waste from low-income countries is recycled 

242 Million Tonnes

In 2016, 242 million tonnes of plastic waste was generated globally. This accounts for 12% of all solid waste. 

Plastic can contaminate and affect waterways and ecosystems for thousands of years if not collected and managed properly. Plastic never degrades, it just breaks down into smaller micro-plastics


Chewing gum contains microplastics. So when you're chewing gum, you're actually chewing tiny beads of plastic.​
Cigarette butts contain cellulose acetate, a microplastic. Each butt can contain up to 12,000 cellulose acetate fibers. Cigarette butts are the most commonly polluted plastic. About 4.5 trillion individual butts are polluting our global environment.
Plastic is suffocating our oceans.
In 2017, there was "more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic, with a combined mass of more than 250,000 tons, are floating in our oceans."

- Toothcrush

Cash for Trash - New York


The New York State Returnable Container Act, also known as the "Bottle Bill", has been a tremendous success.
Since its passage, the Bottle Bill has achieved significant impacts to create a cleaner and healthier New York.
The Bottle Bill reduces roadside container litter by 70 percent and in 2016 helped to recycle 5.1 billion plastic, glass and aluminium beverage containers totalling more than 246,000 tons; at no cost to local governments.

Istanbul Vending Machines Offer Subway Credit for Recycled Bottles and Cans


Istanbul on Wednesday rolled out an alternative currency for commuters who need to top up their subway cards but are short of cash: recyclables.
The city is installing “reverse vending machines” at metro stations that allow passengers to add credit to their subway cards simply by inserting a plastic bottle or aluminum can into the machine.

Ireland’s First Reverse Vending Machine Launched in Carrickmacross


"The Carrickmacross Tidy Town Committee officially launched Ireland’s first deposit return Reverse Vending Machine on the 30th of September [2019].

The initiative will allow users to insert their used plastic bottles into the machine and redeem a 10 cent voucher per bottle. The plastic bottles will then be taken away by local company Shabra Plastics for processing and re-cycling."

What Can We Do?


Refuse Plastics - especially single use
About 4 Trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year. Only 1% are returned for recycling. 
Stop using cling-film. Washable containers work perfectly (and look nicer in your fridge!)


Reduce purchases of difficult to recycle items.
Reduce the amount you purchase and only purchase what is necessary - there is no need to buy in excess of what you need.  


Mend shoes and clothing where possible. 
Sell, swap or donate what you don't use need any more. 
Give away items you no longer want or need on sites such as FreeCycle Ireland.


Use reusable items wherever you can. 
Cotton/sustainable bamboo cloths in the kitchen are a great alternative to kitchen paper. Save yourself the money, while saving trees.


Compost food scraps. 
Food waste that goes into landfill produces methane as it decomposes in a low/no oxygen environment. 
Try start your own composting at home or use your local composting service


Where you cant do any of the above, ensure you recycle all recyclable materials. 
It is important to ensure you recycle wisely so as to not contaminate other recyclable materials. 

clean ups

Image by OCG Saving The Ocean

National Spring Clean 2021

From April 12th, two households can take part in a clean-up together within their county  or 20km radius of their households.
These guidelines remain in place until further Government guidance is announced.

Picking Up Trash On Riverside

Tidy Towns

The national TidyTowns initiative was launched in 1958 by Bord Fáilte (now Fáilte Ireland). It was originally part of ‘Tostal’, a nationwide festival celebrating all things Irish. A step-up from the original National Spring Clean Campaign, which ran between 1953 and 1957, TidyTowns rapidly developed its own identity and has gone on to become Ireland’s most well known and popular local environmental initiative.

Volunteers Collecting Trash on Beach

National Trust, Beach Clean-Up

"We look after 780 miles of coastline, providing havens for wildlife and beautiful beaches for everyone to enjoy. But we need your help to clear up the rubbish that washes up on our shores.
We run events up and down the country throughout the year. If you'd like to lend a hand to keep these places special, why not join in with one of our regular beach cleans?"

Kid Picking Up Trash In Park

Clean Up

Get together and clean up your local area.
Put on a high-visibiity jacket and get your community involved in keeping your area cleaner. 
Volunteer to spend a morning, and afternoon or a whole day cleaning up trash in your local community - you'd be astonished at the amount of rubbish that is on the side of the road, on coastlines & along rivers and canals. 

Image by Jeremy Bezanger

The Ocean Cleanup

The Largest Cleanup In History

Zero Waste Living

22 Steps Closer to Zero Waste Living

22 things you can do to get one step closer to a zero waste lifestyle

Zero Waste Companies

General Motors (GM)
Sierra Nevada
New Belgium Brewing
Fetzer Vineyards
Proctor & Gamble
Image by Raivis Razgals

Food Waste

Food waste that goes into landfill doesn't decompose as usual.
A head of lettuce can take up to 25 years to decompose in landfill.
Don't put your food waste in your general waste bin, please! 

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation



Surfrider Foundation Europe

Surfrider Europe was created in 1990 by a group of surfers who wanted to preserve their playground. Grass-roots activism to protect our oceans and coasts is at the core of the organisation.

Bye Bye Plastic Bags

A movement powered by youth around the world to say NO to plastic bags

Producers & Manufacturers to Take More Responsibility

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) refers to producers, importers and brand holders legal responsibility to manage their products and packaging after consumer use in the EU countries and Canada.

We Need Action on New York's Solid Waste Crisis

New York State is suffering from a growing solid waste and recycling crisis. Recycling markets in China and elsewhere have closed their doors to the U.S., forcing us to start managing our long-standing solid waste problems.

Image by Markus Spiske

Resources We Recommend

EPA Waste Data Release, 30 July 2020
6 Ways You Can Save the Ocean from Home - Ocean Conservancy
Your A to Z of all things waste - MyWaste
Rotten || This docuseries travels deep into the heart of the food supply chain to reveal unsavory truths and expose hidden forces that shape what we eat. - Netflix

In The News

Jamaica: Plastics ban creates new opportunities


Photograph: UNEP

UN Environment Program, Monday January 25th 2021
"Every September, on International Coastal Cleanup Day in Jamaica, plastic is the most collected material. In 2019, the top 10 items collected were all single-use plastic and polystyrene (foam) waste, anything from plastic bottles to food wrappers.
More than 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans globally, each year, adversely impacting ecosystems, biodiversity and potentially human health."

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