A town in Co Galway is trying to eliminate use of plastic packaging this week in an effort to promote greater environmental awareness.

Residents in Kinvara are undertaking a seven-day challenge to see if they can manage to reduce the huge volume of packaging that goes to waste.

The idea came about after a number of local residents were taken aback by the amount of plastic that washed ashore after last winter's storms.

 They have organised the plastic-free week to encourage people to think about their waste management and to consider ways to ease the burden it has on oceans and marine life.

Local businesses are backing the campaign by providing in-store recycling points for packaging. Shoppers are being encouraged to bring their own containers for meat, fish and poultry products and local coffee shops are offering discounts to those with reusable cups.

The challenge has also been taken up by primary and secondary school children, who are endeavouring to generate no additional plastic waste this week.

Students are bringing their lunch to school in long-life containers and water bottles.

Even children at the local pre-schools are being involved, with carers showing them cartoons to highlight the benefits of a greener planet.

One of the organisers of the initiative, Helen Lane, has said the cross-community buy-in for the initiative showed there was an appetite for a widespread reduction in the volume of plastic people encounter on a day-to-day basis.

She has called on other towns in the area to take on the challenge, claiming that a "ground up" campaign of this sort could eventually lead to change on a wider scale.

Ms Lane said a Government levy on single-use plastic would have a hugely positive impact.

The approach is also leading to savings for businesses trying to eliminate excess waste.

Local coffee shop owner, Mike Considine, estimates his refuse bill has fallen by 25% since he made a conscious effort to ensure recyclable or reusable products were used at his business.

He says savings of this kind are vital for small and medium-sized enterprises that are operating in rural towns.

The challenge continues until Friday.