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Sky Ocean Rescue launches in Ireland as new data shows extent of our plastics addiction


85% of Irish people are concerned by their plastic consumption following new research published, as Ireland ranks as the top producer of plastic waste in Europe

  • Nearly two-thirds of the nation has seen plastics in local rivers, lakes, and seas bringing to life the impact of single-use plastic pollution
  • 22 million plastic bottles are purchased each week in Ireland – if laid end to end would reach Boston, Massachusetts
  • 84% of the nation are using reusable bags, but only 8% of people avoid items packaged in plastics

An independent survey commissioned by Sky Ocean Rescue has found that 85% of Irish people are concerned by Ireland’s plastic usage*. The research was commissioned to mark the launch of Sky Ocean Rescue in Ireland. Sky Ocean Rescue aims to inspire everyone – including other businesses - to make simple, everyday changes to help save our oceans.

The research highlights the increasing public concern in Ireland, with most people (82%) believing that it’s one of the most serious issues facing us today and two-thirds of people having seen plastics first-hand, in their local rivers and lakes. The new data sits alongside the recent revelation that Ireland is the top producer of plastic waste in Europe, producing 61kg of plastic waste per person each year.**

Each person typically buys six plastic bottles each week – stretching from Dublin to Boston if laid end to end. Less than 1 in 10 people feel that they can avoid items packaged in plastics due to lack of alternatives, preventing them from living plastic-free lives. This demonstrates further the strong public desire to see change from government and business alike, to lead the way, inspire others and work together to #PassOnPlastic.

JD Buckley, Managing Director, Sky Ireland, said: “We’ve launched Sky Ocean Rescue in Ireland to encourage people to make easy, simple changes to stop our island being surrounded by plastic. Research tells us that 85% of people are concerned with plastic usage in Ireland and as one of the top producers of plastic waste it’s time to pass on plastic and do what we can to protect our oceans.”

Supporting Sky Ocean Rescue, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said: “I commend Sky Ocean Rescue for the leadership they are showing in this area. Marine litter is harmful to our oceans and to the marine life within them. To properly harness our ocean wealth, this is a challenge we need to tackle so that we can protect the greatest national resource that Ireland has- the sea that surrounds our island.”

Also championing the issue of ocean health and the launch is television presenter Amanda Byram, and Irish rock band, The Riptide Movement.

Amanda Byram commented: “I am passionate about the environment and our beautiful Irish coastlines. I’m very proud to be a part of and to launch the Sky Ocean Rescue initiative here today, a campaign that will help to stop the increasing problem we have seen unfold in our oceans.

It’s so important to preserve our coasts and personally, I’ve made small changes in my own life, such as passing on plastic water bottles, straws, bags and coffee cups - but there’s still more we can all do, we need to work together to make a difference.”

The Riptide Movement (Gar Byrne, Malachy Tuohy, JPR Dalton and Gerard McGarry) added: “We as a group are hugely passionate about the ocean and think everyone should be aware of their usage and disposal of plastic packaging. We are currently on a tour of coastal venues around Ireland to spread the message that our cities and towns need to be kept plastic free in order to ensure plastic waste doesn’t make its way to our coastline and damage marine life. For that reason, we pass on plastic.”

Sky Ocean Rescue is built on three pillars:

  • Inspiring others to take action and change their behaviour - using Sky’s voice to reach over 120 million people across Europe and raise awareness of single-use plastic. And Sky is working with partners and suppliers including WWF and Premier League to make easy, simple changes to help save our oceans.
  • Being an inspirational business - Sky is committed to making this part of everything it does, with an ambition to be free from single-use plastics in its operations, products and broader supply chains by 2020. This means that 1,000 tonnes of plastic will be removed — the equivalent weight of four Poly the whale.
  • Investing in solutions - Sky Ocean Ventures will work with start-ups and other businesses to create innovative ways to eradicate single-use plastic with a cornerstone commitment of £25m, combined with the support of other businesses including National Geographic.

The launch of Sky Ocean Rescue with Poly coincided with its inaugural staff beach clean. Poly is made from the same amount of plastic that pollutes our ocean every second, arrived at Bull Island, Dublin. Throughout the day items collected from the beach include plastic water bottle, carrier bags and straws that will be disposed of with the support of Clean Coasts.

The whale has already travelled across Europe visiting iconic locations at European cities including London, Brussels, Rome, and Leipzig. The stops have brought to life the size of the problem with helpful advice from Sky Ocean Rescue about how to make simple, everyday changes - from using a refillable plastic bottle, to saying no to straws and take a reusable bag – to reduce their own plastic consumption.

Sky Ocean Rescue follows the successful Sky Rainforest Rescue campaign which, with the support of its customers, raised over £9m to help save one billion trees in the Amazon rainforest. Ten years ago, Sky became the world’s first carbon neutral media company and is currently listed in the top 8 of sustainable businesses in Newsweek’s Green Rankings, Silver Class in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and included within the FTSE4Good.

Find out more about Sky Ocean Rescue, its commitments and how you can make simple, everyday changes to #PassOnPlastic at the Sky Ocean Rescue Facebook page, @SkyOceanRescue on Twitter, or visit

Notes to editors

*Research conducted by FlyResearch, and commissioned by Sky Ocean Rescue to a pool of over 1,000 respondents across Ireland in May 2018.

** Estimated by Eurostat -

Five easy ways to make changes to your everyday life:

  • Switch from plastic straws to paper straws, or just say no to straws altogether
  • Invest in a reusable coffee cup and you’ll probably save money in your coffee shop
  • Try to remember to pack your reusable bags for life
  • When you’re buying fruit and vegetables from your local shop, consider if you need to use plastic bags for individual items instead of keeping them loose
  • Join a local beach clean

About Sky Ocean Rescue

As Europe’s leading entertainment company, we’re using our voice and potential reach to inspire simple, everyday changes to stop our oceans from drowning in plastic. Since January 2017 millions have engaged with Sky Ocean Rescue and we want to do more. As a business, we’re leading by example and transforming our own business by eliminating all single-use plastic from our operations by 2020. We are encouraging and supporting innovation to develop solutions through Sky Ocean Ventures and we are working to influence others to take action.

About Sky

Sky is Europe’s leading entertainment company, serving 23 million customers across seven countries - UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. The company had annual reported revenues of £12.9 billion in 2016/17, and is Europe’s leading investor in television content with an annual programming spend of around £7 billion.

From exclusive partnerships with HBO, Showtime and Warner Bros. to Sky Original Productions, Sky offers the best and broadest range of content along with the best viewing experience to suit each and every customer. Whether that’s through the multi-award winning next generation box, Sky Q, or Sky’s contract-free online streaming service, NOW TV, customers have access to the latest movies, drama, sports and kids entertainment wherever and whenever they like. This is all supported by Sky’s best in class customer service.

Sky’s success is not just based on what the company does but how it does it. Named as one of the Top 10 Green Companies in the World by Newsweek, one of the world’s most recognised rankings of business’s environmental performance, Sky ensures its responsible business strategy is embedded right across the group.

Three new major commitments have been launched for Sky’s corporate campaign Sky Ocean Rescue; the reduction of our own single-use plastics by 2020; an investment fund of £25 million over five years in technology solutions; and support of marine protected areas across our markets.

Sky has over 31,000 employees and is listed as one of The Times Top 50 employers for women. Sky is listed on the London Stock Exchange (SKY).

Sky employs just under 1000 people in Ireland with over 750 of those based at its Head Office in Burlington Road in Dublin.

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