Limerick firm is tackling plastic pollution

Ecostraws founders Brian O'Callaghan, Sarah Keyes and Anthony Egan.

WHEN the National Geographic Symphony showcased the wonders of the animal and nature worlds on a big screen in Limerick, images of global pollution struck a discordant note with the audience.

None more so than with three friends from Limerick whose shocked reaction to images of plastics in the sea and debris on the beaches prompted them to take action.

As the founding members of, Brian O’Callaghan, Anthony Egan and Sarah Keyes decided to take on the task of doing their bit to “go green for 2019″.

National Geographic figures show that of the 9.2 billion tonnes of plastic manufactured over the past century, more than 6.9 billion tonnes are now classified as waste.

The Limerick entrepreneurs found that aside from wrappers, bags and other forms of single use plastics, Irish people use around a million plastic straws every day.

They are ingested by marine and animal life and, ultimately, by humans as micro-plastics.

“We wanted to offer people an eco-friendly, high quality, fun alternative to the plastic drinking tube,” Brian O’Callaghan told the Limerick Post.

“EcoStraws supply many different types of eco-friendly reusable straws and 100 per cent biodegradable disposable straws.”

“Our stock of reusable eco-friendly straws including stainless steel, glass, bamboo and silicone, is proving popular with the domestic market as householders include them in their cutlery drawer. Pubs and cafés who wish to promote their eco credentials are our biggest customers for paper and edible straws.

The European Parliament has voted to ban single use plastics by 2021.Straws, cutlery, cotton buds and balloon sticks all fall under this umbrella and account for 70 per cent of the waste on our beaches.

“We have been navigating our way through a sea of single use plastics for months now, all the time encouraging dialogue around reusable alternatives and engaging with our suppliers to source high quality alternatives. We believe that we are at the beginning of a revolution against single use plastics and that is ahead of the curve.”

“We have the ability and the knowledge to continue to grow our business with the momentum surrounding the current movement against single use plastics. We are the only business targeting single use plastic straws in the EU, if not the world, so we are aiming high and confident of becoming the number one supplier of eco-friendly drinking straws in Ireland, Europe and, ultimately, across the globe.”

In numbers:

  • One million plastic straws used in Ireland every day
  • 390 million plastic straws used in the US every day
  • 448 million tonnes of plastic produced in 2015
  • 52 million tonnes used in health care and agriculture
  • 72 million used in building and construction
  • 19 million used in electrical
  • 65 million used in textiles
  • 46 million used in consumer products
  • 161 million used in packaging