The GAA, as part of its new Green Clubs programme, is aiming to eliminate single-use plastic bottles from Gaelic Games clubs and grounds. Donegal are already ahead of the curve on this issue – Global Hydrate joined Donegal’s elite team of sponsors last October and since then have been meeting the hydration needs of our football and hurling squads and will continue to do so to end 2023. Global Hydrate is one of the first Tetra Top sustainable water brands to give consumer’s hydration and an eco-friendly alternative to bottled water. Earlier this year Borrisoleigh Bottling Limited (BBL) launched two new environmentally sensitive boxed water products to the market under the Global Hydrate brand, using water from a famous Artesian well and bottled on site in the small village of Borrisoleigh, Co. Tipperary.
Donegal has also put itself forward to lead the charge within the GAA on sustainability by creating a sustainable Donegal GAA Centre in Convoy that will provide a focal point for the roll out of a broader eco-friendly strategy. According to a recent statement by CLG Dhún na nGall chairperson Mick McGrath “we are uniquely positioned within the community to make a real difference when it comes to sustainability which is the most important issue of our time, so we felt that we had to do something”. This is a long-term commitment by the county, and it includes a number of initiatives across the areas of environmental, social and economic sustainability. These will involve leveraging the club infrastructure that exists throughout the county and harnessing the goodwill of the communities that they represent to make a difference.
The full text of the GAA’s Press Release on Single Use Plastics is reproduced below:
As part of its new Green Clubs programme, the GAA, in collaboration with the Regional Waste Management Authority and Irish Water, recently launched an initiative to eliminate single-use plastic bottles from Gaelic Games clubs and grounds. St Patrick’s GAA club in Limerick, Park/Ratheniska GAA club in Laois and Lucan Sarsfields GAA club in Dublin were joined by An Uachtarán CLG, Larry McCarthy, in Croke Park to launch the ‘Puc Single-Use’ initiative. The three clubs are amongst 45 clubs in Ireland taking part in the pilot Green Clubs programme and, along with Clarinbridge in Galway and Cappagh in Kildare, are members of the Waste group of the GAA Green Club programme. Waste is one of five thematic areas being explored by participating clubs, along with water, biodiversity, energy, and transport.
The first major project for the GAA Green Clubs in the Waste group is a campaign to eliminate single-use plastic. Green Club partners the Regional Waste Management Authorities have developed a ‘Puc Single-Use’ toolkit to support participating GAA Green Clubs in identifying and eliminating single-use plastic in their grounds and activities, starting with drinking water bottles. Nearly 50% of all plastic produced world-wide is single-use and Ireland is responsible for the highest rate of plastic production per person in the EU.
(L to R) Niall Gleeson, Managing Director, Irish Water Jo Mahon, Lucan Sarsfields, Larry McCarthy, Uachtarán CLG Sammi Chang, St. Patrick’s, Limerick Hugh Coughlan, Regional Waste Management Authority and Eileen Dunne, Park/Ratheniska, Laois
Irish Water has supplied the Green Clubs taking part with 1500 reusable water bottles and each club has nominated a number of teams to champion the initiative. Sammi Chang from St Patrick’s in Limerick explained how the measures of the GAA’s safe return-to-play policy had already encouraged teams in the club to look at their use of disposable water bottles. “Because of the Covid risks, some of the adult teams in the club had begun to look towards individual reusable bottles. Having the Green Club toolkit as guidance, we can now develop this as a policy across the club so that this measure won’t be just for one summer or one year – this is a commitment that St. Patrick’s are proud to champion for the years to come.”
Laois club Park/Ratheniska were represented at the launch by Green Team member Eileen Dunne, who is also the club’s Healthy Club Officer. This club’s plastic elimination programme, which is being championed by the club’s juvenile section, received a significant boost recently when the club’s adult football team also decided to go plastic free. Lucan Sarsfield’s Jo Mahon is not only a Green Team member but is also club secretary and a member of the Healthy Club team, “It makes perfect sense for Lucan Sarsfields to be involved as a Green Club – the values and aims of the Green Club programme reflect who we are as a club and community and complement a huge amount of what we do already through the GAA Healthy Club Project.”
The three Waste Management Planning Regions were represented by Regional Co-Ordinator Hugh Coughlan who said “The three Regions are delighted to be supporting this initiative by the GAA to reduce single-use plastics, which is very much in line with the ambitions of National and Regional Waste Policy. The GAA’s commitment to developing more sustainable clubs through its Green Clubs initiative has significant potential not just for the clubs but indeed for the wider community given the GAA’s unique presence in Irish society”
Irish Water was represented by Managing Director Niall Gleeson, who said: “Delivering Ireland’s water services in a sustainable and socially responsible way is a key priority for Irish Water. Like the GAA we operate in almost every town and village in the country, safeguarding our precious water supplies and returning treated wastewater safely to the environment. We are delighted to support this great initiative by providing clean drinking water in reusable bottles which will help tackle the growing problem of plastic waste and protect the environment.”
More information on the GAA’s Green Club programme is available at www.gaa.ie/greenclub and email@example.com
For further information please contact
Alan Milton, Director of Communications, Croke Park.