Launch of Towards Zero Waste Cashel!
Cashel Co. Tipperary recently followed in the footsteps of San Francisco and Ljubljana as Zero Waste Cashel was officially 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.
The event took place in Brú Ború beside the Rock of Cashel. You can watch a video taken of the event here, replete with drone footage of the Rock of Cashel as well as of Mindy O’Brien, Voice coordinator and Zero Waste Cashel project manager Derry O’Donnell discussing the project.
Led by VOICE, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and supported by the Southern Region Waste Management Office and Tipperary County Council, this pioneering new project aims to take a typical Irish town on a journey of change.
Zero Waste in Europe
The five basic tenets of zero waste are: Refuse, reuse, repair, recycle and rot. Incorporating each of these waste-combatting strategies has the potential to dramatically reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and incinerators and help a town like Cashel realise its vision of becoming a fully-fledged circular economy.
In the EU 28 countries, recycling rates are incredibly low – roughly only a quarter of all waste gets recycled with just 5% being reused. However, towns such as Powys in Wales and Ljubljana in Slovenia are exemplifying the potential of implementing a Zero Waste initiative – in Powys the total waste stream reduced by 26% and the residual waste stream reduced by 66% over the 18-month project period, the same duration as the Zero Waste Cashel project. Ljubljana is the EU capital with best performance regarding waste separation and waste avoidance; it separately collects 60 % of municipal waste and generates less than 150kg of residual waste per person yearly. Compare that to Ireland where we generate 333kg of residual waste per person yearly.
Towns, villages and cities which have implemented zero waste strategies have enjoyed significant fiscal as well environmental advantages. Zero Waste focus on prevention, reuse and proper source separation, household collection techniques, recycling, and composting of organic waste. This can be achieved through changing attitudes to waste through community wide education, as well as changing consumption habits. Ultimately zero waste focuses on waste reduction, with as little residual waste as possible, eliminating the need for environmentally harmful and costly disposal techniques such as landfilling and waste to energy.
All involved have worked hard to reduce waste, increase reuse and repair, and raise composting and recycling rates. Hopefully this is just the first of many towns in Ireland to take this bold step!
You can find more photos of the event on our FaceBook page here.