A Blooming Garden

Date published: 15 June 2019

We were delighted to launch our Bloom garden in the Phoenix Park this weekend. Our garden, #Pledgeagainstplastic highlights some of the ways in which we can curb our plastic use and focuses on the 5 R’s of Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot. It was created with the Irish Girl Guides and we have had great interest so far with visitors including Leo Varadkar, Flossie and the beach cleaners , Saoirse McHugh, Alison Cowzer, Living Lightly in Ireland, and Seal Rescue to name just a few. You can check out the latest from Bloom on our Instagram and Twitter feeds.

Bringing our garden to life has been a real shared effort with members of the Irish Girl Guides from all over the country collecting bottle tops and making eco-bricks to make the fabulous sofa which so many people have sat on already! Another great feature to the rear of the garden is a wall that the Brownies and Guides have signed with their pledges to reduce their use of plastic. We also have two large planters made from recycled plastic (from Murray’s Recycled Plastic in Castlebar) that we have filled with home grown vegetables and flowers. There are also two fantastic pear trees that will give fruit in the autumn and will be replanted at one of the Girl Guide Cottages.  There is a an amazing variety of beautiful gardens and great things to do here at this year’s Bloom Festival. You can visit each day from 9am -6pm right through until Monday 3rd June!

Do you remember the colour of your first toothbrush? Probably not, but I can tell you now that it still exists (more than likely at the bottom of a landfill site out there). This gives you an idea of the longevity of some of the plastics which so many of us still casually toss away without a thought. In fact, some of the more durable plastics can take up to 1000 years to decompose! This is precisely the conversation we wanted our garden at Bloom to provoke.

Recently captured images of sea-life have highlighted the harm plastic is causing but did you know that a staggering 22 million kilos of plastic enters our oceans each day? We have all seen the turtles choked with plastic pack rings but an invasion of microplastic is also causing huge problems at sea, the effects of which we are only beginning to realise. If plastic production is not curbed, it will be responsible for the emission of 56 gigatons of CO2, which is 10-13% of the CO2-budget. It really is a state of emergency for our planet.

The good news is there are some things we can all do today to help stem the flow of plastic:

  • Refuse: Growing your own vegetables and fruits eliminates the need for buying them in plastic. If that is not an option for you, buy loose produce and bring your own bag to carry them home. Avoid man-made fibres (many of these are derived from plastic!) and use laundry liquid in place of plastic -tabs.
  • Reduce: Use materials such as Beeswrap instead of clingfilm to wrap your lunch. Wash your clothes even slightly less frequently (most of us are guilty of rewashing already clean items!)
  • Reuse: Use plastic containers again as planters.
  • Recycle: Send your soft plastics like crisp packets to Terracycle to be made into new plastic.
  • Rot: Try to buy biodegradable items (such as toothbrushes) when possible.

One item you may want to invest in is a Guppy Friend. This handy little washing bag has been designed to prevent microplastic pollution from clothes washing.

You can also learn more great tips at www.plasticsoupfoundation.org.

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