Northern Ireland

A step forward has been taken this year to improve recycling system and reduce the use of single-use plastic at the Belfast Tourist attraction St. George's Market thanks to a group of Young Reporters for the Environment determined to make a change. Following last year’s successful initiative by St. Louise's Comprehensive College, some students members of the Eco-Committee at St. Mary's Christian Brothers Grammar School decided to visit the market this year again to find out if there were any changes or improvements at the market as a consequence of last year's YRE investigation.

Since last year, the Belfast City Council has introduced recycling bins, which were not there at all before, and prepared posters to encourage visitors to bring their own reusable cup when visiting the market. This was part of the suggestions from the girls at St Louise's who first investigated the issue.  87.5% of members of the public interviewed knew what the single-use plastic issue is and stated it is a big problem.

Last year 70% of the vendors had single-use plastic food containers, while 66% of vendors stated that this year they have changed to using compostable containers instead of polystyrene ones. This has been a great achievement that young people involved in YRE and the Litter Less Campaign were able to raise awareness about the issue and demand change from the authorities. The Council representatives and the Market manager are currently collaborating with the students and KNIB to further this positive change.

Litter Less Campaign students from St. Mary’s CGBS made this video about the effort to eliminate single-use plastics from St. George’s Market: