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Businesses set to clean up Cobh

Wednesday, 17th April, 2019 4:58pm

Discussions will begin on how to transform Cobh into an eco-friendly business hub at a meeting to be held tonight.

Eco-conscious businesses and customers will share their vision for better sustainability in the town at the meeting tonight at the Commodore Hotel.

Organised by the Green Party, it is hoped plans can be formed to help promote Cobh as an eco-friendly town and reduce vacancy in some parts of the island.

Ruth Ring, Chairperson of Cobh Tidy Towns, which helps increase awareness of sustainable practices like composting and single-use items, says there is an appetite among businesses to be more environmentally-conscious: “We’ve helped introduce compostable beer glasses and take-out containers for the Cobh People’s Regatta a few years ago, and the reusable Keep Cup in 2017,” she says.

“It’s exciting to see so any people making a wholehearted effort to make our island more sustainable.

“We have to look at what we’re using, especially in food industries. What happened to eating ice-cream off of cones? Some businesses in Cobh have introduced the likes of wooden cutlery and are looking at compostable take-out materials.

“I think businesses will be more amenable to making changes, because it’s been really well-received in the community if you look at examples like the new Seasalt café and deli, whose customers know how conscious the owner is about reducing the impact her business has on the environment.”

Stephen Thornhill is involved in Cobh Zero Waste, which is made up of local community groups and works towards attaining a zero-waste status in Cobh. Cobh Zero Waste started last year and has been working with Cork County Council, SECAD and Cork Environmental Forum. More recently it has been involved with Cobh and Harbour Chamber of Commerce to push for a more sustainable business culture in the town.

“We’ve been looking at things like eco bricks, as well as a shared anaerobic digesters for hotels and restaurants to break down biodegrable material, which also produces organic fertilizer and bio-gas, meaning they would be beneficial for farmers on the island and for energy purposes.”

Ms Ring added: “Getting people in a room to discuss successes and failures can make a difference, and it’s getting people together than can really change things.”

Cobh Green Party representative Susan Lanigan says there is a burgeoning community of environmentally-conscious businesses and customers in Cobh, including visitors looking for local produce.

“From the success of Cobh Zero Waste to the local Tidy Towns continuing to thrive, it's obvious Cobh is crying out for a new focus on environmental sustainability. This has worked for other seaside towns such as Kinsale. There's no reason why it can't work here.”

The meeting will take place on Thursday 18 April at 7.30pm in the Commodore Hotel, and is open to all business stakeholders and customers.

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