TCD Plastic Solutions petition to be bound next week

The petitions 3,700 supporters advocate for the elimination of single-use plastics on campus.

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) Plastic Solutions lobby group are to present their petition to the provost, Patrick Prendergast, at the launch of Green Week. The group aim to terminate the sale and use of single-use plastics and implement “compostable, sustainable alternatives” with the petition being bound next week.

The petition calls for the phasing-out of single-use plastics in TCD cafes and restaurants. Compostable and eco-friendly cutlery, bottles, coffee cups and other utensils will replace any plastic alternatives. Supporters also urge for college to implement on-campus compost bins, to increase the amount of water-fountains, and to spread “awareness on campus about the damaging effects of single-use plastic consumption”.

TCD Plastic Solutions will unveil the petition to the Provost on February 12th to mark the beginning of Green Week festivities. Starting 1pm in the front square, both the Provost and David Norris will speak at the ceremony. Shortly after, on February 15th at 6pm, the petition will be presented to College Registrar, Paula Murphy, at The Pavillion Bar for the opening of the Pav Cup deposit scheme.

Speaking to Trinity News, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President Kevin Keane commended Plastic Solutions’ initiative, stating: “The work that the campaign has done so far this year has been nothing short of incredible. To develop such a massive groundswell of support and buy-in from students and college in such a short period of time is extraordinary.”

“The union and grassroots volunteers who are leading this campaign are asking for a very simple thing. We all know and acknowledge the damage and danger of plastic. We’ve all seen the photos and watched the documentaries. Now we need to act. It is not radical request, it is something that makes sense, and clearly that’s the case for the well-over 3,000 student supporters who demand this in such a short period of time.”

Keane added: “The union is really excited to continue to support the work of the grassroots volunteers and very much looking forward to the event of handing over the petition to college authorities in the coming days.”

Speaking to Trinity News, Sustainability Advisor Michele Hallahan said: “The Provost’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability formally supports the Plastic Solutions campaign (as of  November 2017), and there is work afoot to gradually migrate Trinity away from single use disposable plastics.”

Hallahan also highlighted the prevalence of campaigns similar to Plastic Solutions that specialize in “disposable plastics, energy efficiency, water conservation and best waste management practices”. Notably, the Student Sustainability Network Facebook Page works to increase environmental consciousness.

Trinity is currently a Green Flag campus. In late 2016, Trinity discontinued affiliations with the fossil fuel industry to promote sustainability. Plastic Solutions views the eradication of single-use plastics on campus the as the “next step” in Trinity’s ecological progress.

Caroline Boyle

Caroline Boyle is a current Deputy News Editor of Trinity News. She is a Senior Fresh BESS student, and a former Senior Reporter.