24 July 2018

SEAI Join Conscious Cup Campaign

SEAI Join Conscious Cup Campaign

Staff Inspire Positive Change at Work

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), are just one of the many businesses to recently join the Conscious Cup Campaign.  Áine Macken, who works within the events and marketing department at SEAI was kind enough to write about how this all came about. Like so many other businesses making moves to become more sustainable, it all began with a small group of co-workers driven to make positive change.

“In October 2017, five staff from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) met up for a chat over lunch. We’d met for a very specific reason. We all had a furrowed brow in common. This was due to the number of disposable cups and plastics we saw in use daily in our office building. We work in sustainable energy and understand the level of energy that goes into each single use cup. The disposable cups in our building are not recyclable. Our poor frowns considered methane gas. Methane gas has 21 times the global warming potential of CO2. Our co-workers were sending these cups to landfill to produce this gas! We had to take action.

A few lunches later, our brows were still furrowed, but now with purpose! We had armed ourselves with gallons of research. The Conscious Cup Campaign Facebook page was a big help. We approached our human resources department and management with a proposal. We wanted everyone to have a reusable cup. In bulk, you can buy reusable cups a lot cheaper. Management were fantastic and very supportive of the initiative. Our lunch team started to grow to more SEAI staff. Starting to think bigger, we decided to approach the other companies who work in our building. Turns out we weren't alone, two more companies came on board.

We arranged a coffee morning to launch our new 'Single Use Plastic Free' ethos. We invited Mindy O'Brien from VOICE, and our CEO, Jim Gannon to speak. Overwhelmed with the response, our tiny team looked on as 70 people arrived to this packed event. Although, we suspect the cute baby polar bear on our poster had a little something to do with it. Jim spoke about the encouraging developments SEAI are making to combat emissions. He emphasised the intensity of the energy that goes into single use plastics. With boundless energy and enthusiasm, Mindy guided us through her fascinating story. Mindy, an environmental lawyer, is tackling the government on plastic. She did a show and tell of the mistakes we all make when recycling - her talk brought a refreshing energy to the room.

We then issued a feedback survey on plastic use in our building. With almost 60 responses, many of whom committed to helping us out, our tiny team is now much bigger. And though our re-usable cups are now full, this is only the beginning. The feedback survey has gone to management, who plan to put in place what they can in the future. And our furrowed brows? Well, they're a tiny bit lighter.”

If you'd like to help your workplace become more sustainable, why not join the Conscious Cup Campaign and encourage reuse!