When we think about waste, most people think about the bins we put out to be collected each week or the litter on our roads and scattered in the countryside. We don’t worry about where it goes, as long as it is taken away. As they say, out of sight, out of mind.
However, proper waste management is the responsibility of all of us.
In Ireland, we generate nearly 20 million tonnes of waste each year, of which 1 million tonnes is food waste. Much of this waste is preventable, reusable, repairable or recyclable. We need to look at waste not as something to bury or to burn, but as a resource to be reused or refabricated. As they say, one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure.
The EU is issuing new guidelines and recycling targets for all Member States looking for 70% recycling level for all municipal waste by 2030. The EU and Ireland as well supports the circular economy to ensure the proper management of valuable renewable and non-renewable resources. For instance, mobile phones contain many valuable natural resources such as gold which can be extracted to be used again.
We all must be mindful of the Earth’s limited resources and promote innovative thinking and effective eco-design of new products. This can be done only through the behavioural change of government, businesses and individuals alike.
What is VOICE doing?
- VOICE represents the Environmental Pillar on the Regional Waste Advisory Council, which is drawing up three new regional waste plans
- VOICE wrote the Environmental Pillar Submission for the draft regional waste plans.
- VOICE spear-headed the establishment of the resource efficiency working group within the Environmental Pillar.
- VOICE advocates for the adoption of a deposit/refund scheme for drinks containers.
- VOICE opposes the construction of incinerators or Waste to Energy (WtE) plants.
- VOICE is pushing for zero-waste initiatives.
- What do all these recycling symbols mean?
- Our Disposable Economy
- The Big Upcycle
- How Can We Promote Zero Waste with the Poolbeg Incinerator?
- Green Your First Day of School
- SME’s Save Money by Going Green
- Support a Container Deposit/Refund Scheme
School projects for primary and transition year students.
Tweet Want to know more about sustainable consumption, extreme environmentalism and how to live without plastic? Lots of tips on how to reduce your waste in our...read more
Tweet On May 25th, VOICE had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with St. Laurence O’Toole’s third and fourth class students to host a Food Waste Tea Party. We used the fantastic kitchen facilities of Sheriff Street Recreation Centre just across from the school, who run regular cooking classes and food educational events with the local community. We were very impressed with their set up and community composting. This event was to demonstrate to the young girls that old or funny looking fruit veg can be transformed into delicious cakes and other tasty treats. Carrot and orange cake was the mission of the day, and it all began with a lot of muscle power to grate the carrots and squeeze the oranges. The food, provided by FoodCloud, was all rescued supermarket produce. The carrots, oranges, yogurts and dried fruit we used would have all been destined for the bin simply because of ‘sell by’ dates on the packaging. The cake prep was messy, fun and crazy as you can imagine, making sure all of the girls got a turn at reading the recipe instructions, greasing the baking tins, measuring the flour and sugar, cracking an egg and mixing in the yogurt and juice. Unfortunately there was a vote against the dried fruit with just two girls opting for a sprinkle on top of their muffins. It was decided that the dried fruit would go in the teacher’s cake only. The cakes finally made it into the oven and the girls went off for their lunch, after an hour or so they excitedly returned to check out the final product. Thankfully it all turned out well and we all enjoyed a slice of warm carrot and orange cake served with a dollop of yogurt. Still a bit turned off at the idea of having carrots in their cake some of the girls were more interested in the leftover oranges and that set it off for a queue lining up for slices of orange until we had run out. Despite the fresh oranges proving more popular than the cake itself I was delighted to cycle home with a lighter load on my back! When things calmed down again we had a chance to chat about food waste and why some foods don’t make it to family homes simply because of supermarkets putting good food in the bin. We also talked about ways to help reduce waste at school and at home. Every girl went away with a handout to read with their families with recipes for banana pancakes, bread and butter pudding and the orange and carrot cake we made that day. Overall it was a great event and we’d like to thank both St. Laurence O’Toole’s and Sheriff St Recreational Centre for having us, we hope to visit again soon. Food Rescue Supported...read more
Earth Day saw Voice carry out a very special collaboration with the Burren Food Trail in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare! Read on to hear more about this enjoyable, engaging event.read more
On April 4th, the due behind We Make Do held a successful Food Rescue event in Ballyclough Cork which raised €600 for the local school and fed approximately 80 local people with food that would have gone to waste! Read more here.read more
On Saturday 1st April, VOICE history was made as for the first time ever, our Food Rescue was brought to the 5 Lamps Arts Festival.
For two hours on a rainy April Fools Day, a bustling atmosphere filled the hall of SWAN Youth Services. We had cooking demonstrations, music, a ‘coffee upcycling’ station, a recipe and skill-share with Connect the Dots and a documentary screening of a film about food waste. What a way to spend a wet Saturday afternoon! Read all about it here.read more
Cashel Co. Tipperary recently followed in the footsteps of San Francisco and Ljubljana as Zero Waste Cashel was Launch ZWCofficially launched.
“Towards Zero Waste Cashel” is an 18-month pilot initiative which promotes reducing waste and repairing and repurposing items, and was officially launched last Thursday March 2nd at the Rock of Cashel. Cashel is the first town in Ireland to make the journey towards zero waste a reality.read more
Confused about what to put into your recycling bin…?read more
Voice and TCD Enviro Soc host a Food Rescue Lunch at TCD!read more
Tweet Mindy O’Brien, coordinator of VOICE, spoke to Noel McGuinness of NearFM on January 13th about waste prevention in 2017. Asumptions about cost, excessive bureaucracy, convenience, practicality…all are delved into in this interview which explores food waste packaging, the repair industry, and the use of reuseable coffee cups! Contrary to Noel’s assumption, food waste packaging is actually disimproving as we are now seeing “bananas, avocados and oranges in plastic”. Fruits with such think skins surely don’t require an extra layer of plastic, a plastic that is in fact very difficult to recycle. What’s more, the packaging may encourage us to buy more than we need, causing us to waste food a few days later – not what we need when we know we Irish are throwing out 25% of our fruit and veg. However, many people out there assume that packaged food is generally cheaper. In fact, the opposite is more often than not true; it is often cheaper to buy unpackaged! Mindy’s example of packaged cheese costing 50 cent more per kilo than the smaller, unpackaged amount would really make one think. What’s the lesson in this anecdote? Check what’s cheaper – don’t assume buying food pre-packaged will save you money. 2017 will hopefully see a surge in the repair industry in Ireland. Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) take broken electrical items, but will not repair them. However, Repaircafe will. This is a free service where for one day, a group of volunteers come together to repair things for free. Ireland had its very own Repair Cafe until “prohibitively expensive insurance” and liability issues unfortunately forced it to close. This is an example of bureaucracy putting a spanner in the cogs of transition – however luckily a new endeavour has sprung up in Ireland! Put a note in your diary for March 11th 2017 – when Fixjam will come to Jigsaw, Dublin. The repair industry exists, and if it’s going to grow, we need to use it. Finally we got to the issue that is sending 650 million cups to landfill a year, and that’s just in Ireland. Yes, you guessed it – the scourge of non-recyclable coffee cups. A budding campaign is beginning in Ireland, the Conscious Cup Campaign. This group of individuals that met on the Zero Waste Facebook page are taking on the industry, by urging cafés and shops to accept reuseable cups and offer a discount to those who use them. A simple tweak, but one made all the more difficult to implemen,t as the problem is in part down to the coffee suppliers who often supply free cups with the coffee. The question is – will cafés take a hit to the wallet if they can provide a social and environmental benefit? We hope so, but only time will tell. So what can you do today to begin the change and spread the trends that will only grow in the future? Why not invest in a practical Stojo? While you’re at it, plant the idea of getting a discount for using your own cup in your local café? The more the idea is normalised, the more palatable it will become for the industry. Let us know how you get on! Leave the plastic in the supermarket and opt for unpackaged – your bank account will...read more