The decision of businesses in Killarney to end the use of single use coffee cups has been hailed as a “really significant moment” for the town.
In 2018, a study estimated 200 million coffee cups were used in Ireland every year - which is roughly equivalent to the weight of 148 humpback whales.
Numerous independent businesses in the Kerry town have decided from July 31st they will longer sell coffee in disposable cups and customers will have to bring their own.
“This is a really significant moment for Killarney which uses over one million single use coffee cups, which either end up in landfill or as litter in our national parks,” Killian Treacy of LUNA deli + wine told Lunchtime Live.
“So, a really monumental day.”
Coffee cups are thought to be the most common source of litter in the town and locals wanted to do something about it.
“We just sat down and said, ‘How can we come up with a solution to this problem?’” Mr Treacy said.
“Quickly we came up with a solution that wouldn’t be amazing for Killarney to be the first town in Ireland to be coffee cup free?”
When coffee shops in town were approached, there was “nothing but enthusiasm” for the project and 46 signed up.
“Everyone wanted to be part of this scheme for the betterment of the town,” Mr Treacy said.
Ross Hotel Sustainability Manager Louise Byrne said she was “impressed” by how positive people are feeling ahead of the scheme’s launch.
“The primary thing we want people to know is to bring their own cup,” she said.
“Seven out of ten people have their own cup at home - we want them to bring it.
“Then, if you want you sit in and enjoy but there’s also the deposit system, where if you pay a two euro deposit, you can get a cup and then you can either return the cup after, keep it, swap it for another and that can be done in any of the participating locations in Killarney.”
Main image: A single use coffee cup. Picture by: Alamy.com