Meet Our Recycling Ambassadors
Aoife - Regional Liaison for Connacht-Ulster Recycling Ambassadors
Aoife has worked in environmental education projects for over 15 years with experience in the design, delivery and roll-out in Ireland and the UK. Aoife, who is based in Co. Donegal, is the team lead and coordinator for our Connacht-Ulster team of recycling ambassadors.
"My favourite thing about the Recycling Ambassador Programme is the simplicity of the project. It tackles really specific issues affecting recycling in Ireland today and gives people the knowledge and tools to change their behaviour and improve on these. It couldn’t come at a better time to clean up our act in terms of how we recycle. Although we have made significant improvements over the years there is plenty more to do and we need to keep up with changes on an international level. This project has all the right stakeholders at the table, so that we can all work together to achieve this.
There is a reason that people have been a little confused about what to recycle. That is because there has never been an ‘official list’ of what you could recycle in Ireland, so this is new territory for all of us. Most importantly the majority of people didn’t realise how much you hinder the recycling process by simply recycling the wrong things, otherwise known as ‘bin contamination’. In our workshop, we give people information about what you can recycle and also how your recycling should be, with simple catch phrases such as “clean, loose and empty”, making it all very easy to remember as everyone has busy lives and limited time to think about their bins. People really do want to do the right thing, they just need the right information in order to do so!
When I go out and deliver workshops I am always surprised to hear a new question about recycling I have never heard before. It keeps me on my toes! But mostly people are relieved to have a definitive list of what exactly to recycle. Even the ‘converted’ are often not sure. Occasionally you feel the frustration from people who want to see change in the system from the Government and from business. For example tackling the issue of plastic packaging. I assure them that we are working on that also and they should look out for other VOICE campaigns and get involved, that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ and that we are working on it! But mostly it is a very positive project, which should have a huge impact on how we recycle in Ireland today and something that we can build on for the future.
In my spare time I look after my two children, spend a lot of time building fairy houses and sandcastles and occasionally there is some time left over for soap making."
Pictured: Aoife with some of her team members (L-R: Simon, Imelda, Aoife and Colin).