Free waste reduction workshop set to run in Cork village this month

Voice have hosted more than 700 workshops for 25,000 people, educating them on how to reduce their waste and recycle properly. Ahead of a workshop in Crosshaven on November 12, hosted by One Green Village, ELAINE DUGGAN tells us more about the NGO’s work
Free waste reduction workshop set to run in Cork village this month

Tad Kirakowski, of Voice Ireland, who attended the ReUse Republic event organised by SMILE Resource Exchange in collaboration with Cork County Council last week. Picture: Darragh Kane

IN Ireland, we create about half a tonne of waste each, per person, per year. Also 22,000 single use cups are used every hour in this country.

These are just some of the startling statistics that will be presented by Voice Ireland at a free waste reduction workshop in Crosshaven on November 12.

The workshop is being hosted by One Green Village, an environmental initiative in Crosshaven, looking at how a village community responds to issues like climate change and biodiversity loss.

The upcoming waste reduction workshop is free and open to the public and takes place on Tuesday, November 12 at Crosshaven Community Centre from 8.15pm.

Voice have hosted more than 700 similar workshops, for 25,000 people — in venues from town halls to beaches.

I spoke to Tad Kirakowski of Voice to find out more about the upcoming event in Crosshaven.

TELL US ABOUT VOICE?

“Voice is an NGO that has been active in Ireland since 1997.

“We work around the 12 Sustainable Development Goals, which is aimed at consumption and in that we encompass both empowering individuals to take action around waste reduction and how they can consume in a more sustainable fashion, but we also work with government and corporate sector to improve their practices and we advocate for stronger policies around waste and around circular economy issues as well.

“Over the years we’ve been involved with projects such as:

We campaigned back in 2000 for the plastic bag tax.

We ran projects around food waste, such as feeding 5,000, which was using food waste, or what would have been food waste, to feed 5,000 people in Dublin.

We pushed projects towards Zero Waste Cashel.

We work projects like the Conscious Cup campaign which is the idea of getting a reduction if you use your own cup, rather than using a single use cup and encouraging the circular economy approach to problems like that and encouraging people to think how they consume, how they use day to day items.

“But we are also involved in campaigns such as Sick of Plastic (which is run by us and Friends of the Earth) which is calling on retailers to produce less plastic on the shelves, and working with them in encouraging those kind of practices as well.

“And then more lately, throughout all of this, we’ve been doing workshops and last year we ran the recycling plastic programme, and that was across Ireland, we were going out to community groups and companies talking to people about what we can and can’t recycle in Ireland.

“Through that campaign we ran 720 workshops and talked to 25,000 people directly. And out of that we developed, this year we developed the waste reduction workshop.

“We’ve gotten very kind support from Cork County Council who are allowing us to run these workshops with community groups in the Cork County area.

“And because we have the support of Cork County Council we can provide these workshops for free to communities in Cork County Council area.

WASTEFUL: In Ireland, we create about half a tonne of waste each, per person, per year. Also 22,000 single use cups are used every hour in this country.
WASTEFUL: In Ireland, we create about half a tonne of waste each, per person, per year. Also 22,000 single use cups are used every hour in this country.

WHAT DO PEOPLE LEARN AT THE WORKSHOPS?

“It is very much built on the recycling ambassador programme last year, we talk a lot about recycling in that, because there is still an awful lot of confusion of what can and can’t go into the household bin — that’s to do with the historical issues in Ireland around different companies accepting different waste.

“November 2017 was the first time we had one single unified recycling list in Ireland and the recycling ambassador programme came out of that. So we tell people about this list and what they can and can’t recycle.

“When that programme came to an end, issues were being raised in those workshops about waste reduction and other issues people had, so we decided we would broaden out the workshop and now we address issues like how much do we in Ireland waste and how we can reduce what we waste, as well as informing people about recycling.

"There is still an awful lot of confusion of what can and can’t go into the household bin."
"There is still an awful lot of confusion of what can and can’t go into the household bin."

WHAT WILL HAPPEN ON THE NIGHT?

“The way the workshop works is one of our ambassadors will come to your community group, or meeting and they will talk for 40 mins to an hour. We very much try to encourage an interactive workshop — it is not just someone standing there talking. We want to have a conversation with you and answer your questions.

“We will then talk about the amount we waste in Ireland. For example, on average, in Ireland we create about half a ton of waste each, per person per year, and just to think about those statistics. There is 22,000 single use cups used every hour in Ireland. So we start off setting that kind of scene.

REFUSE: The workshop will talk about waste reduction and how to refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle.
REFUSE: The workshop will talk about waste reduction and how to refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle.

“Then we talk about waste reduction — how you go about it. We talk about refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle — that pyramid of reduction.

“We then talk about recycling — what we can and can’t recycle Then the ambassador brings along a bag of items — themselves and audience will go through the items and see what can and can’t be recycled.

“If you have a question — bring it up — if the ambassador knows they will tell you, if not they will bring it back and follow up. The ambassadors are doing these workshops for a very long time, they really encourage interaction. Asks the questions you want to ask.

“These workshops also encourage communities to open up dialogue about waste and waste reduction.

“On the evening we will show a short video — what happens recycling after it is collected from your door. It is brought to seven recycling recovery centres around Ireland. You will see how it is separated at site.

“What is great about the video is you see how the material moves through and is sorted. It gives you an idea why different materials go in. You see this is why soft plastic might create a problem. You see this is why we put things in loose — which is a massive issue. It can be eye opening.”

The upcoming workshop in Crosshaven is free and open to everyone. Further queries to onegreenvillage@gmail.com. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter at One Green Village

If other groups/ communities are interested in hosting a waste reduction workhops they can contact Voice by emailing tad@voiceireland.org

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