Ireland’s Drinking Fountains Scheme Fighting Plastic Waste

Ireland's Drinking Fountains

Ireland’s Drinking Fountains Scheme Fighting Plastic Waste

Ireland has a big problem with single-use plastic water bottles. People throw away about 220,000 plastic water bottles daily, costing over €100 million a year! Ireland’s drinking fountains scheme aims to install public water fountains across the country to tackle this issue.


Early Success of Ireland’s Drinking Fountains in Dublin

The first two of Dublin’s fountains, in Clarendon Row and Temple Bar Square, were a big success. In just over a year, they saved almost 25,000 plastic bottles from ending up in landfills! This success has pushed a nationwide effort. The Irish government is providing €2 million to fund new fountains across Ireland.


Phases in Ireland’s Drinking Fountains Scheme

The plan is to roll out the drinking fountains in two stages.

Phase 1 – Public Buildings (Starts Later in 2024): The first phase focuses on installing fountains in places like libraries and government buildings that already have running water. As a result, many people will have easy public access to clean water.

Phase 2 – Public Outdoor Spaces (2025 Onward): The second phase will install fountains in parks, beaches, and other outdoor areas where people spend a lot of time. Fountains in outdoor spaces will make it easy to stay hydrated and reduce the reliance on single-use plastic bottles.


Benefits of Ireland’s Drinking Fountains Scheme

These fountains are good for the environment and for people too.

Less Plastic: The fountains offer free, refillable water, helping to reduce the use of plastic bottles. Reduced plastic use means cleaner streets, parks, and rivers.

Save Money: People can ditch expensive bottled water and opt for reusable bottles. This economic benefit is relevant as the global cost of living continues to rise.

Stay Healthy: Easy access to clean water means people can drink more throughout the day, essential for good health. Regular water intake improves cognitive function and overall well-being.

Convenience: Fountains provide a quick and easy way to get clean water on the go. No more lugging around heavy bottles or hunting for places to buy them.


Existing Irish Schemes Fighting Plastic Waste

Ireland’s drinking fountains scheme supports other government programs reducing plastic waste.  These include:

Deposit Return Scheme (DRS): The DRS implements a deposit system to incentivize recycling plastic bottles and cans. The deposit is returned once the plastic bottles are returned. The DRS is expected to reduce plastic bottle litter and improve recycling rates.

Local Authority Prevention Network (LAPN): The LAPN funds local governments and communities to establish free water refill points.  This initiative works with the public drinking fountain scheme to create a network of accessible water sources.


Conclusion for Ireland’s Drinking Fountains

The drinking fountain program, the DRS and the LAPN show Ireland’s commitment to a more sustainable future. Public fountains will benefit the environment by reducing plastic pollution. These fountains also offer economic and health advantages to the public. While Ireland’s drinking fountains are a big step forward, ensuring water quality remains a priority. Regular water testing, like that offered here at Southern Scientific, is essential to maintain access to clean water.


For more information on our drinking water tests, click here!

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