People encouraged to break up with plastic this Valentine’s Day

Photo via Karolina Grabowska on Pexels

Clean Coasts and Uisce Éireann are asking people to ditch their single-use plastic toiletries and find a more sustainable match this February.

The advice comes as part of the ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign which highlights what everyday items are unsuitable for flushing.

Tom Cuddy from Uisce Éireann said that there are consequences to the improper disposal of rubbish down the toilet, and thousands of blockages are cleared every year.

He said: “Everyday people flush items such as wet wipes down the toilet instead of simply putting them in the bin. This causes blockages in our network, pumping stations and wastewater treatment plants.”

Recent survey found that 20% of people in Ireland admit to flushing inappropriate items down the toilet such as wipes, dental floss, tampons, cotton buds and cigarette butts.

Valentine’s Day is chosen as a time to promote this campaign as it is a time when people usually focus on their relationships with the people around them.

Clean Coasts representative Sinéad McCoy said it’s time to start questioning our relationships with plastic, and how it impacts the world around us.

She said: “As we know single use plastic is an immense waste issue that creates a vast array of issues for our world, so a move to more sustainable and reusable items can have a real positive impact on the world around us.

“We realise it can be difficult to make the break from single use, so for anybody starting the journey towards new, reusable, long-lasting loves, we have tips and hints on our website to get you started.”

Ireland has the 5th lowest recycle rate

Statistics show that Ireland is the number one plastic waste producer in the European Union, with 65kg of plastic waste per person produced each year, as well as being the country with the fifth lowest recycling rate.

The #BreakUpWithPlastic initiative aims to raise awareness of the impact of plastic pollution on our planet and marine environment by asking people to stop opting for single-use plastic.

Uisce Éireann’s Tom Cuddy said: “A simple solution is to only flush the 3 P’s – pee, poo and paper – down the toilet and throw wipes and other sanitary products in the bin. In the lead up to Valentine’s Day, Think Before You Flush are asking you to #BreakUpWithPlastic and bin your wipes.”

Clean Coasts will also be sharing tips and resources on how to #BreakUpWithPlastic outside of the bathroom. Check out how other people have already made the switch on social media @CleanCoasts and join the discussion by posting your own swaps this Valentine’s Day using the hashtag #BreakUpWithPlastics.

Join the campaign on social media @CleanCoasts and at Learn more about the Think Before You Flush campaign at


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