Pages Menu

Posted on Nov 23, 2017 in Blog

Top Tips For Reuse This Christmas

By VOICE Recycling Ambassador, Clodagh Evelyn Kelly

Clodagh Kelly

It is that time of year again, whether you celebrate it or not, the festive season is upon us! Personally this is my favourite time of year when autumn tumbles into winter and we get an extra hours sleep in the mornings. Despite the darkness, I do look forward to the festive light displays and concept windows, as I am a maximalist who is trying to be a minimalist. This is proving to be quite difficult as I am on the journey towards living zero waste.

You never throw anything away – you only ever throw it somewhere else.”

This line has stuck with me more than most things over the last few years and it inspired me to think about where my waste goes. Hi! My name is Clodagh and I am the host of ‘SWAPSIES’ which is a fun interactive swap shop which I recently facilitated in the Dublin Food Co-op, as part of National Reuse Month. This event was the first public ‘SWAPSIES’ which ran alongside upcycling workshops and it was made possible with thanks to VOICE & The Eastern Midlands Waste Region. The SWAPSIES journey began back in 2012, when a few friends got together to throw a clothes swapping party in each-others houses. The intention was to swap clothes and to dress for the seasons, so we hosted 4 swap shops every year. Fast forward to today, now my aim for SWAPSIES is to encourage others to re-home their pre-loved clothes by choosing to swap over shop and to remind people that second hand does not mean second best.  

Clothes aren’t going to change the world. The women who wear them will”– Anne Klien

I am an advocate for the circular economy which is not a new idea, but Ireland is slowly opening its arms and adapting this new way of thinking. I have been an avid clothes thrifter for more than half my life now, but what is next on my Christmas list is to try renting clothes. Luckily there are wonderful places to start here in Dublin and catching on around the country. If you need to find a dazzling new outfit for a special occasion, why not sign up to join NU WARDROBE to share or borrow an outfit? This new website allows you to upload photos of your clothes and rent them out. It’s a great option for those of us who can’t part with some of our most loved occasional garments but don’t get to wear them too often.

COVET on the top floor of the Powerscourt town centre in Dublin offer a similar service. You get the amazing outfit without the long term commitment! What is not to love!?! So why not give renting a go? Another idea to reduce waste this Christmas is to support your local artisans and designers at your local markets. (Don’t forget to bring your reusable bag with you!)

If you find yourself with extra clothes in the coming weeks, here is a useful guide I created to help you declutter your closet and reduce your wares in the new year.* As the textile industry is the second largest pollutant in the world after oil, I believe that we should care for our clothes as it is something that we as consumers can control.


Did you know that 25% of the carbon footprint of clothes come from how we care for them? Here are some tips to care for those threads all year around.

download (3)

As you can probably tell, the environment is a passion of mine and I am now hosting workshops for the VOICE Recycling Ambassador Program helping households understand what they can and cannot recycle. You can follow #BinSorted online to follow our progress or contact us here at VOICE if you would like to find out more about the workshops.

Channelling the 5 R’s to Reduce Waste

Refuse : This Christmas say no to single use . Why not start by carrying a reusable bag or my top tip is to invest in a keep cup. Or simply follow by example of JT Pims and other bars across Ireland and say no to single use straws this Christmas!

Reduce : Your intake of physical gifts. Why not invest in an experience instead ? Buy tickets to your favourite show / gig, go on an outdoor adventure or donate to your local charity instead of acquiring more ‘stuff.’

download (2)Reuse: Why not reuse old newspapers instead of buying single use wrapping paper. Wrap with twine and if you want to jazz up a gift, colour in between the lines. Turn your old cereal boxes inside out and seal with paper tape as a handy new box!

Recycle: Make your own Christmas wreath – take an old wire hanger, open the wire and create a hoop shape. Then tie on some old decorations / ornaments / led lights and wrap the top back into a hook and TADA!

Rot: If you decide to bring an outdoor tree into your home this Christmas, please make sure that you dispose of it properly. There are many drop off points around the country, contact your local council to find your nearest one. Alternatively I would suggest to buy low maintenance indoor plants that can also act as air filters. Spider plants are good for this and you can always dress them up in reusable lights.

If you’d like to know more about SWAPSIES or upcoming events, follow me on Facebook & Instagram.

To enquire about us hosting a swap shop for you email: