Cycling or walking the 46km Waterford Greenway can be thirsty work.
Now, walkers and cyclists can refill their water bottles for free, thanks to the addition of new water stations along the popular 46km trail.
The stations are available at four locations - Abbeyside, Ballylynch Cross, Kilmacthomas Station and Bilberry - along the Greenway.
“Ireland is currently recycling only 35pc of its plastic waste, with the rest going to landfill, incineration or thrown away carelessly on our streets and into our hedgerows, waterways, and seas,” said Councillor John Pratt, Mayor of Waterford City and County Council, who launched the initiative this week.
"Single use plastic water bottles account for a large proportion of waste, and the installation of these bottle refill stations will help to prevent this," he added.
The refill stations were funded under the Local Authority Prevention Network, which works to prevent waste in Ireland, and supplied by Ecofil.ie.
The Dublin-based company has also worked with councils in Monaghan, Malahide and Howth to introduce water stations designed and encourage bottle re-use.
Drinking fountains that double as bottle refill stations have also been introduced by the local council and Tidy Towns committee in Greystones, Co Wicklow.
Dublin Airport, too, has upgraded its water fountains, retrofitting them with new taps to create some 18 'hydration stations' both airside and landside.
The stations mean passengers can now bring their own (empty) bottles through security, and refill them for free airside.
In Waterford, several new plastic bottle recycling bins - an initiative first trialled by Tramore Tidy Towns - have also been put in place at Kilbarry Nature Park, The People’s Park in Waterford City and Abbeyside in the county.
According to the council, 240kg of plastic was recovered from Tramore's two new bins alone during one seven-day period this summer.
"Over 80pc of all coastal sites surveyed during CoastWatch’s most recent All-Ireland CoastWatch Survey were found to be littered with plastic," Mayor Pratt says.
"The surveyors found an astonishing average of 18 plastic bottles for every 500 metres of the coastline.”
The Waterford Greenway opened in 2017 and was named Ireland's Favourite Adventurein this year's Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards.
Refill Ireland maintains a 'Tap Map' of free bottle refill locations countrywide.
7 Jan 2020