Earlier this month, it was announced that all plastic packaging waste can go into the recycling bin. Great news for the people of Ireland, great news for the environment, and great new for Roz Purcell who can stop explaining the difference between hard and soft plastic on Instagram.

"It was this constant dilemma of explaining the difference between hard and soft plastics, but now all soft plastics can go into the recycling bin so it makes my life a lot easier, not having to explain it," laughs Roz, a proud ambassador of Repak's Team Green.

"You do still have to emphasise that everything needs to be clean, dry and loose, so you can't be putting lots of recyclables into a plastic bag, tying a knot in it and putting it into the recycling bin because that's just going to defeat the purpose."

"Obviously, in other countries you could put soft plastics into the bin so it's great that Ireland finally can, and that's down to huge investments and new technology. It allows us to, hopefully, recycle more and meet new targets."

Repak Team Green Ambassadors from left Roz Purcell;Paul McGrath;Donal Skehan and Anna Geary, drumming up new habits  Pic:Naoise Culhane
Repak Team Green Ambassadors Roz Purcell, Paul McGrath, Donal Skehan and Anna Geary drumming up new habits. Photo: Naoise Culhane

Currently, Ireland is exceeding the EU plastic recycling target of 22.5%, but in order to achieve the EU's targets of 50% by 2025 and 55% by 2030, a concentrated effort will have to be made by all stakeholders. An effort that Roz is determined to be a part of.

"I do think that there is a lot of pressure being put on individuals when it comes to the environment, when in fact it is huge corporations that are responsible too," she acknowledges.

"There needs to be pressure put on corporations, but I'm kind of the opinion they go hand in hand. For me, I don't go 'oh there's no point in me doing anything if big corporations aren't changing', I may as well be doing something too because, at the end of the day, me doing a little bit every day will hopefully add up to something."

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As a lifestyle influencer who spends much of her time showcasing the most scenic spots that Ireland has to offer, Roz is all too aware of what's at risk if things continue as they are.

Spending as much time as she can in the fresh air, the former Miss Universe has created a series of hiking events, encouraging others to put down their phones and embrace what nature has to offer.

"The Hike Life is flying along; I've actually just released a series for singles," she explains. "I do all these Q&As on my page, and the biggest thing is that people are finding it hard to date after lockdown. They've found dating online a real struggle and dating apps have left them feeling a little worse for wear."

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With so many of her followers asking her for advice on dating, the 31-year-old decided to set up a hiking event exclusively for singles. The response, she says, was overwhelming.

"Oh my God. I don't think I can organise enough hikes for the amount that signed up for it," she says, laughing. "I cannot wait for it because I have secretly always wanted to be a match-maker; this is my dream come true."

Going by how seriously she's taking the role, Roz Purcell may well be this generation's Cilla Black.

"I'm trying to pair people up, taking information from the registration, matching where they're from and trying to organise hikes so that there's an equal meeting point. So, obviously if you meet someone nice, they're not on the other side of the county."

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As well as coming to Roz for dating advice, her 530k Instagram followers have been entertaining and shocking the Tipperary woman by spilling their secrets through anonymous messages. From secret affairs to cheating on tests, the scandalous confessions have been something to behold.

"First of all, I am so vanilla," she laughs, "my deepest darkest secrets are actually pretty grey and not really secrets. I get such a laugh out of them. Also, with lockdown and life being a little bit slower, people really love it."

"I love reading people's secrets, it kind of feels like it's not real life even though it is," she adds. "It makes you feel, I don't know, really good, like, wow, I'm a really nice person. But also, it makes me feel less alone on certain things."

From break ups and losing friends to feeling stuck in jobs and fighting with family members, the secrets shared have shown that no matter the problem, people are rarely alone in a struggle.

"Things that you might feel shameful about but aren't shameful like feeling really lonely. I think there's extreme secrets but some are quite normal and we don't talk about it enough so it's nice to see people are in similar situations."

For shocking secrets and info on the Hike Life, you can follow Roz on Instagram here. To join Repak Team Green, visit repak.ie/teamgreen.