15 November 2018

Meet Our Recycling Ambassadors

Meet Our Recycling Ambassadors

Michele Hallahan - Eastern Midlands Recycling Ambassador

Michele is a keen environmentalist and has been working in the sector for a lifetime, she has brought our recycling workshop to all sorts of people from university students to shoppers in Ikea just recently. 

"I love being one of the VOICE Recycling Ambassadors. I have always had a passion for Nature and the environment and this passion was born at a young age in me: I remember when I was 7 years old, I saw my first plastic bottle of milk. Something in my chest sank (I still remember this vividly, some decades later) as I knew instinctively that there was something wrong with this material. The glass bottles seemed so ‘right’.

I've worked in the field of environmental consulting since 1992, when I began working with Greenpeace International.  In 2001 I co-edited the book 'Source - A guide to Sustainable Living in Ireland' and wrote the chapter on waste management in Ireland. At the time, there was no kerbside recycling in Ireland so my goal was to encourage people to bring their recycling to recycling centres.  Things have (thankfully) evolved since then with most households currently having access to kerbside recycling in Ireland. The key now is for us to educate people on what can and cannot go in the recycling bin.  

Information is key to better recycling habits: in my work at the University of Texas in Austin, ten years ago, we managed to triple the recycling rate on campus based on sharing factual information about recycling habits with the staff. By holding 45 minute talks in each office and department, and showing pictures of what could be recycled, staff understood how to improve their recycling habits, and sure enough they applied the good information that they got to recycling smarter and better. 

One of the things I love about giving the VOICE Ireland recycling workshop, is the variety of people I get to meet.  What is particularly uplifting about this work is the number of people I meet who are equally concerned about the environment and equally committed to learning how to do better with recycling practices.  It has given me great hope for the future and for our ability as a species to come together and learn best practices from one another.   

Outside of the RAP I love to go hill walking, swimming and camping.  My environmental tendencies also get creative expression in my cooking – I love cooking organic whole-food vegetarian dinners for my friends and family."

Michele shared top tips on recycling in an Irish Times video earlier this year, check it out over on our project page.