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Posted on Oct 19, 2017 in Blog, General News

Autumn Update

VOICE ReUse Month Events

We’re having a pretty busy ReUse Month this year with lots of activity with VOICE in Dublin and Zero Waste Cashel.

As part of Reuse Month, we hosted two events also in the Dublin Food Coop alongside the Library of Things. On October 7th Max Moribley and Claire Downey hosted The Fix Jam, their team helped 35 people repair their broken and damaged things. It was so much fun to watch everything being repaired and seeing how easy it is to just get something fixed instead of throw away!

October 14th was all about clothes and garment upcycling, Deborah Tormey from Attention Attire  gave workshops showing people how to make accessories like phone covers and wallets from rescued festival camping gear. Carrie Kinahan showed people how to turn their old t-shirts into new tote bags, which came in very useful for the Swapsies clothes swap hosted by Clodagh Kelly, an expert in slow fashion.

Reuse Month has been a great buzz of activity all over the country. It is truly inspiring to see people embrace the sharing and circular economy, moving away from single use and throw-away to reuse, repair, swapping and sharing. We hope this trend continues and spreads, with our natural resources and environment under threat we really need to rethink how we use and value goods.

Dublin Library of Things
In addition to the events, for this year’s ReUse Month we teamed up with WeShare, Share City and the Dublin Food Coop to pilot Ireland’s first Library of Things. Initially we wanted to test the water, see how the public would respond to the idea and see what challenges need to be overcome in setting it up. We thought, if we can make it work we might inspire people all across Ireland to set up sharing spaces similar to what’s currently happening over in the UK.

An old shed that was no longer in use was spruced up thanks to ReCreate and re-homed in the Dublin Food Coop, it has been part of the Coop’s daily life since October 1st. The Library is run by a team of volunteers and is open to the public every Thursday evening, and Saturday’s and Sunday’s from 11-4pm. We now have 45 members and a total of 150 items to borrow from the library. We have received such a great selection of items, from manual lawnmowers and other DIY tools to baking equipment, art supplies, sports equipment, musical instruments and camping gear. We also have quite a good selection of books, records and DVD’s. We have just two weeks left for the library of things, we’re not quite sure what will happen after Reuse Month but we would love to see it continue either in the Dublin Food Coop or for it to find another permanent home. Please pop in to see it for yourself or get in touch for more info, we are happy to support communities around Ireland in setting up their own sharing initiatives. To keep up to date with the Library of Things please follow the project on Facebook.

Images: The Library of Things team and volunteers.

Zero Waste Cashel 
October has been a very busy month so far for Zero Waste Cashel with several events organised as part of Reuse Month.

The list of events include;

For more details on events or to book a place visit the Zero Waste Cashel Website.

Outside of Reuse Month, Project Manager Derry O Donnell has been liaising with local schools, community groups and businesses to further motivate and inspire the community to embrace the journey towards zero waste. Zero Waste Cashel had their own stall at the Cashel Arts Festival along with some artistic upcycling events, a great opportunity to converse with the public about ongoing projects. ZWC have teamed up with Terracycle to set up a deposit return system in the playground collecting certain items of waste which can then be exchanged for cash, this is an effort to help fund the Cashel Playground Development while also getting people active on waste.

Local cafes are offering discounts when you bring your own reusable coffee cup. On-street recycling bins are to be installed around the busy tourist town which should help save a lot of valuable resources ending up in landfill sites. Local businesses have taken part part in Resource Efficiency Surveys conducted by GreenBusiness.ie and Stop Food Waste programme and Master Composting Training are being planned for November and onwards.

To keep up to date with all that is happening follow Zero Waste Cashel on Facebook and Twitter and sign up to the newsletter on the website.

Images: Halloween workshop and Zero Waste Cashel PM Derry O’Donnell

Recycling Ambassador Programme

You may have heard about our new Recycling Ambassador Programme. It is an exciting development for VOICE to be rolling out an extensive programme on the ground all over Ireland. The programme is supported by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and project Partners REPAK and the three regional waste offices.

We are all working together to get out a clear message to help people improve Ireland’s recycling rates and reduce levels of contamination in household recycling bins.

We have a whole new team for the programme: Suzie Cahn is our project manager, Michele Hallahan, Tad Kirakowski and Aoife Flynn are regional liaisons and we have a recruited big group of enthusiastic Recycling Ambassadors. The Ambassadors are central to the success of the programme, as they are running the free interactive workshops and events all over the country.

The core message of these workshops is to emphasise that everything going into the household recycling bin needs to be EMPTY CLEAN and LOOSE or “clean enough to tip onto your kitchen floor”

And so what does go in your household recycling bin?

  • Paper & cardboard: newspapers & magazines/cardboard boxes/milk & juice cartons/toilet & kitchen roll tubes/letters & brochures
  • Plastic Bottles: drinks bottles/cleaning products & shampoo bottles
  • Pots, Tubs & Trays butter, yogurt & salad tubs/soap
  • Tins & Cans food cans, soup cans, drink cans, pet food cans, clean aluminium

The project will officially launch on November 29th, stay tuned for more info on that! If you would like to host a workshop in your community, please contact suzie@voiceireland.org to make arrangements.

Images: Michelle and Suzie on their Panda MRF visit facilitated by Liam Dunne.

Please Support the Green Party Waste Reduction Bill

Our streets, countryside and waterways are awash with disposable packaging.  Everywhere you look is evidence of our disposable consumption patterns…plastic bottles, aluminium cans, take-away coffee cups and other plastic packaging.  Much of this rubbish is preventable or recyclable, but because it is littering our landscape, much of it is burned or landfilled or ends up polluting our natural environment and killing marine animals.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

First of all, we as consumers can prevent the creation of waste by bringing our own coffee cups when getting a drink on the go (See the Conscious Cup Campaign) or using reusable containers/bags when purchasing deli items, meat or other loose fruit/veg.  Consumers can also look to buy items without packaging or with easily recycled/compostable packaging.

Additionally, the government has a big part to play to encourage producers and retailers to change the way they sell items and alter their packaging.   Responding to this call, the Green Party has introduced its Waste Reduction bill, which reflects many of the waste prevention initiatives that VOICE has promoted for years.  It would ban single-use, non compostable items such as plastic cups, plates and cutlery and disposable coffee cups and establish a deposit refund scheme for closed drinks containers, such as soft drink plastic bottles and aluminium cans.  Each drinks container would contain a deposit in its listed price, which would be returned to the individual when the bottle/can is returned to retailers.  This bill, if passed, would force manufacturers to change their packaging to offer more environmentally-friendly options.  For example, in the northwest of the US, food retail shops in California, Oregon and Washington offer food products in compostable packaging.

We urge our members and community groups to contact their TDs to move this bill through the Dail.  It currently has the support of Labour, Social Democrats, Sinn Fein, Fianna Fail and many Independents.  If you are a member of a Tidy Town group or other community group, please contact VOICE and we will send you a pack and sign you up as a supporter of this waste bill.

Mindy O’Brien – VOICE Coordinator