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Local retailers Re-turn to recycling

It is estimated that 5 million single-use drinks bottles and cans are consumed every day in Ireland. Drinks containers are typically consumed ‘on the go’ and are often thrown away in mixed waste or litter, instead of being recycled.

In November of last year, The Minister of State with responsibility for Communications and Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth launched Ireland’s national Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

The Deposit Return Scheme will boost the recycling rate for these drinks containers – by charging a small, refundable deposit for each plastic bottle or can.  From February 1st, 2024, empty and undamaged bottles or cans with the Re-turn logo can be returned to a participating store, and customers will be issued a voucher that can either be used for a cash refund of the deposit or towards their shopping at the store.

Ella Ryan, Environmental Education Officer with Waterford City and County Council welcomed the initiative saying, “it will encourage us all to return single-use plastic bottles and cans, reduce litter and help protect our environment.”

Ella added, “Throughout Waterford retailers are embracing the scheme and have either installed reverse vending machines (RVMs) or will accept undamaged plastic bottles and aluminium cans over the counter.

“We’re delighted to see such commitment from local businesses and this scheme will lead to huge changes in attitudes towards recycling and help support a circular economy, by moving away from the take-make-dispose linear economy, which is clearly unsustainable.”

Tony Murphy of the popular Centra in John’s Park recently installed two reverse vending machines ahead of the new DRS Scheme launching on February 1st  nationwide.

“This initiative will be crucial in changing our attitudes towards recycling, and keeping our street, parks, beaches litter-free and Centra are happy to lead in this environmental initiative.

“Fully redeemable deposits will be placed on plastic bottles and cans, but once they are returned undamaged to any store, the customer can receive the deposit back for a voucher redeemable in the store it was returned to.”

Tony added, “We intend to make the return process as seamless as possible and have installed the reverse vending machines at the entrance of the shop, so even if the bottle or can hasn’t been purchased in our store, customers can pop in, return, recycle and receive a voucher which can be redeemed for cash or used against the value of their shopping.”

The deposit fee will be 15c for containers from 150ml to 500ml and 25c for containers over 500ml and up to three litres.

To find out more about Ireland’s new Deposit Return Scheme visit  https://re-turn.ie/

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Image: Tony Murphy of Murphy’s Centra and Ella Ryan, Waterford City and County Council

Glas Awards Launched!

 

Local Enterprise Office Waterford launches the inaugural Glas Awards, promoting sustainability in business in Waterford.

The awards, in association with Waterford City and County Council aim to recognise and celebrate micro businesses in County Waterford who have made significant advances in bringing green principles into their business model.

Launched by Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Joe Conway, Acting Head of Enterprise at the Local Enterprise Office Waterford, Brid Kirby, and Climate Action Coordinator with Waterford City and County Council, Gráinne Kennedy, these awards will showcase what Waterford business is doing to adopt sustainability policies, in a practical sense.

The awards are open to small and medium sizes businesses based in Waterford County. The Green Micro Enterprise of the Year is open to all with employees of 10 or less, while the Green SME of the Year is open to those between 11 and 20 employees.

The mayor sees this as another step towards Waterford’s green action targets.  “Waterford has been actively working towards carbon neutrality and preparing for the impacts of climate change. Through policy measures and the implementation of both adaptation and mitigation projects, we can effect real change.

“Every aspect of the community has a role to play, and these awards will highlight and reward the micro businesses who have started to play their part.”

Each winner will receive a cash prize of €2,500 and a themed trophy.

Brid is extremely proud of these new Awards, “We want to recognise the extraordinary contribution and commitment that some Waterford companies now make towards growing a greener future in Waterford’s business environment.

“We have an opportunity to promote the conscientious practices of these Waterford businesses and hopefully encourage more to adopt a similar attitude. A green agenda does not have to increase costs in business. It often increases business, while saving money in the long run. It is an investment in their business and our future.

While Grainne hopes they will inspire other businesses, “We hope that this event connects companies and teams from a diverse variety of business sectors to exchange ideas and celebrate achievements in sustainability. We are proud to again be part of an event that highlights leadership and sustainability in green practices in Waterford.”

The entry portal  www.localenterprise.ie/Waterford/Training-Events/Competitions/Waterford-Glas-Awards-2023.html is now open on Waterford’s Local Enterprise Office website and remains so until 20th September 2023. The Glas Awards Final which will be held in Grow HQ, Waterford City on 17th October 2023.

For further information follow this link www.localenterprise.ie/Waterford, contact LEO Waterford at 051 849905 or email info@leo.waterfordcouncil.ie

Uisce Éireann to help Waterford businesses make savings through more sustainable use of water

           

 

94% of Irish SMEs plan to increase or maintain their investment in sustainability

July 28 2023 – Nine out of 10 Irish Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) plan to maintain or increase investment in sustainability practices and solutions in the next 12 months to meet what many see as a growing consumer appetite for more sustainable products and services, according to the bi-annual Uisce Éireann SME Sustainability Sentiment Survey.

The majority (73%) intend to maintain current levels of investment, while over 1 in 5 expect to increase their spend in this area.

Satisfying customers’ desire for more sustainable products and services is now the second (43%) most important key driver influencing SME decision-making on investment in sustainability, ranking behind achieving cost savings (55%). More than half of Irish SMEs (52%) believe operating a sustainable business attracts more customers.

While 72% of SMEs continue to identify cost concerns and rising costs as the stand-out barrier to investing more in sustainability practices, three out of ten state a lack of information on sustainability practices and lack of Government support (45%) as problematic barriers. The survey found the majority of Irish SMEs (64%) are not aware or not sure where to access supports including information and financial guidance to achieve sustainability savings.

Commenting, Geoffrey Bourke, Business Operations Manager at Uisce Éireann, said: “The B&A research shows Irish SMEs fully realise the importance of offering sustainable products and services to their customers, with the vast majority planning to continue investing to introduce sustainable practices and solutions.

“However, the survey also found they feel there is a lack of guidance for businesses around sustainability, with nearly seven out of ten not aware or not sure where to access supports.”

Uisce Éireann offers a suite of easy-to-access and free initiatives to help SMEs reduce costs and become more sustainable when it comes to their use of water, including its first-of-its-kind-globally Water Stewardship Programme and Annual Certification Scheme.

Geoffrey added: “Uisce Éireann understands the concerns and challenges facing SMEs and this summer we commenced writing to all our 180,000 commercial customers, detailing their projected water costs and advising how they can achieve savings while also conserving water and becoming more sustainable. There is growing awareness among SMEs about the value of water to their business and the potential savings that can be made to their bottom line by becoming more water-aware.

“We also host a suite of free initiatives to help SMEs to thrive by reducing their costs and becoming more sustainable in their water use. These include our Water Stewardship Training Programme which helps organisations lower their water use, our Annual Certification Scheme, and the Uisce Éireann water conservation pledge, which enable businesses to demonstrate their commitment to water sustainability and avail of the great free resources on our website.

“We would encourage all SMEs to visit www.water.ie to find out how they can help conserve water and reduce costs.”

Conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes (B&A), the Uisce Éireann SME Sustainability Sentiment Survey interviewed over 350 SMEs, seeking their opinion on the importance of investing in sustainability for their businesses and customers and examining the barriers and that currently exist to investment in the area.

Railway Square Pocket Garden on the right track

Waterford City and County Council recently completed works on a new pocket park at Railway Square.

The pocket park is a welcoming urban space consisting of plants and flowers in raised beds, and a spacious seating area, to encourage people to relax in a garden oasis in the heart of the city.

The area originally housed a small play park, however, this was repurposed as a pocket garden to mitigate anti-social behaviour.

The new park complements the regeneration the area is currently undergoing as it is close to the many commercial and retail outlets, giving staff and employees the opportunity to take a relaxing break in the city oasis.

Sean Gormley, Acting Senior Executive Engineer with Waterford City and County Council emphasised the importance of public green spaces. “Green areas are proven to have a positive effect, not just on our biodiversity, but also on our mental health and well-being.

“By introducing the pocket park to Railway Square, the area is now an inviting and open space, and it has become a popular meeting point for those who work and live in the area, encouraging a healthier outdoor and social culture.”

Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Joe Conway welcomed the addition of the pocket park to Railway Square.  “The original infrastructure invited an anti-social element and, unfortunately this precluded a lot of young children and families using the space for its intended purpose.

“Waterford City and County Council’s Environment team has successfully repurposed the space and intends to introduce more of these biodiversity pockets throughout the city and county.

“Ideally, these green urban areas will have a far-reaching impact by minimising the consequences of climate change, encouraging social cohesion and improving biodiversity and the quality of urban living.”

The main contract on Railway Square Pocket Park was undertaken by RFL ltd., with the overall cost of the project at €45,000.

Deadline today : Local Circular Economy Grant 2023

Are you part of a group that wants to help to take steps on waste prevention, re-use and repair activities in your local area?

Waterford City and County Council invites submissions from community groups, youth groups, schools or other community development organisations, based in County Waterford, who are interested in receiving funding for initiatives regarding the circular economy, reuse and repair.

A circular economy is based on long-life products that can be renewed, reused, repaired, upgraded and refurbished to preserve natural resources, protect habitats and reduce pollution. It is about finding ways to keep items in use longer and not generating as much waste in the first place.  It’s about rethinking the way we do things – redesigning the items we use – changing attitudes and changing behaviours about what we buy and what we throw away.

The main focus for projects this year should be on projects to promote a circular economy e.g. repairing, reusing, building skills and knowledge in the community to facilitate repair and reuse, changing attitudes and behaviours to how we use items, reduce use of single use items (encourage use of reusable items). Applications for projects under these themes will be prioritised for funding. Why not apply for funding to help you carry this project out?

How to apply:

  1. The application form for this grant is available from the http://bit.ly/WastePreventionGrant2023
  2. The grant application form should be completed and returned to the Environment Section for consideration by the closing date 5pm on Wednesday 17th May 2023.

Local Circular Economy Grant 2023 (formerly Waste Prevention Grant)

Are you part of a group that wants to help to take steps on waste prevention, re-use and repair activities in your local area?

Waterford City and County Council invites submissions from community groups, youth groups, schools or other community development organisations, based in County Waterford, who are interested in receiving funding for initiatives regarding the circular economy, reuse and repair.

A circular economy is based on long-life products that can be renewed, reused, repaired, upgraded and refurbished to preserve natural resources, protect habitats and reduce pollution. It is about finding ways to keep items in use longer and not generating as much waste in the first place.  It’s about rethinking the way we do things – redesigning the items we use – changing attitudes and changing behaviours about what we buy and what we throw away.

The main focus for projects this year should be on projects to promote a circular economy e.g. repairing, reusing, building skills and knowledge in the community to facilitate repair and reuse, changing attitudes and behaviours to how we use items, reduce use of single use items (encourage use of reusable items). Applications for projects under these themes will be prioritised for funding. Why not apply for funding to help you carry this project out?

How to apply:

  1. The application form for this grant is available from the http://bit.ly/WastePreventionGrant2023
  2. The grant application form should be completed and returned to the Environment Section for consideration by the closing date 5pm on Wednesday 17th May 2023.

Local Circular Economy Grant 2023 (formerly Waste Prevention Grant)

Are you part of a group that wants to help to take steps on waste prevention, re-use and repair activities in your local area?

Waterford City and County Council invites submissions from community groups, youth groups, schools or other community development organisations, based in County Waterford, who are interested in receiving funding for initiatives regarding the circular economy, reuse and repair.

A circular economy is based on long-life products that can be renewed, reused, repaired, upgraded and refurbished to preserve natural resources, protect habitats and reduce pollution. It is about finding ways to keep items in use longer and not generating as much waste in the first place.  It’s about rethinking the way we do things – redesigning the items we use – changing attitudes and changing behaviours about what we buy and what we throw away.

The main focus for projects this year should be on projects to promote a circular economy e.g. repairing, reusing, building skills and knowledge in the community to facilitate repair and reuse, changing attitudes and behaviours to how we use items, reduce use of single use items (encourage use of reusable items). Applications for projects under these themes will be prioritised for funding. Why not apply for funding to help you carry this project out?

How to apply:

  1. The application form for this grant is available from the http://bit.ly/WastePreventionGrant2023
  2. The grant application form should be completed and returned to the Environment Section for consideration by the closing date 5pm on Wednesday 17th May 2023.

National Tree Week Launch

Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. John O’Leary took part in a tree planting initiative in Dungarvan to mark National Tree Week 2023

National Tree Week Launch Waterford

National Tree Week is Ireland’s largest annual tree celebration runs from March 19th to 26th March and is dedicated to celebrating and raising awareness of the importance of trees to the environment.

Organised by The Tree Council of Ireland and proudly supported by Coillte, National Tree Week has been running for over 35 years.  This year’s theme is ‘Biodiversity Begins With Trees’highlighting the benefits of trees to our environment and local communities.

The objective of Tree Week is to inspire people to plant and care for trees and to highlight the many benefits trees provide to our environment and local communities.

Over 440 trees and hedging plants have been planted in Dungarvan so far this year, including birch, hazel, holly and ash, as well as numerous fruit bushes and trees.

Waterford City & County Council launches Community Climate Action Programme

Waterford City and County Council, in conjunction with the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, recently launched a new Community Climate Action Programme.

The programme aims to support small and large, rural and urban communities to take climate action at a local level and provide these communities with the opportunities to take a holistic approach and actively shape their transition to a low carbon and sustainable community.

Funding is available for 100% of the project and communities can apply for up to €20,000, €50,000 or €100,000.

Projects of interest would address the themes of energy; travel; food and waste; shopping and recycling; and local climate and environmental action. Projects can include a suite of measures, not just one specific action.  Successful applicants under this scheme will deliver a variety of projects that have a direct climate action impact.

Eligible communities must be a not-for-profit; be located in the operational area of Waterford City and County Council, and be registered with the PPN or connected with other collectives such as the Wheel, Tidy Towns and /or a community group with Articles of Association or a Constitution, which hold an AGM, and for which approved minutes are available.

Examples of eligible groups include charities, local environmental groups, sports clubs, social enterprises etc.

This month, Waterford City and County Council will host a series of information events about the upcoming Community Climate Action programme:

  • Waterford City, Granville Hotel (X91 XH5R) on Wednesday 8th March at 7:15pm
  • Dungarvan, The Park Hotel (X35 CC97) on Thursday 9th March at 7:15pm
  • Online on Friday 10th March at 2:00pm

The information events will be followed by a project development workshop in Waterford on March 25th, which will give communities an opportunity to explore the themes, share experiences, brainstorm ideas and develop their project ideas.

All communities are welcome, from those who are starting their green journey to those with more experience. There will also be opportunities to develop project ideas with Waterford City and County Council’s new Community Climate Action Officer.

You can register for the introductory events online here at this link.

If you have any queries please get in touch with the Community Climate Action Officer, Susan Lee by email climateaction@waterfordcouncil.ie.

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Free to use images: Patrick Browne

Announcing details of the  Community Climate Action Programme in Waterford were

l-r: Susan Lee WCCC Community Climate Action Officer; Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr John O’Leary; Paul Kamp, Representative for the Top of the City Community Garden; and Susan Gallagher, Environmental Representative for the Waterford PPN.

Waterford City and County Council launches innovative Bring Banks sensors project 

Waterford City and County Council’s Environment Department has this week launched an innovative Bring Banks sensors project, aimed at tackling litter build up around bring banks that may be full.

bringbank_sensors

Sensors to monitor the levels of glass within bring banks have been installed at 70 locations around the city and county.  Information from the sensors, available via a smartphone map on the Council’s website, will allow members of the public to check capacity of the different types of glass and avoid a wasted trip, or plan to visit an alternative bring centre. The project will also reduce the amount of fuel required for the Council’s glass collection contractors to empty the bottle banks.

Funding of €45,000 for this project was provided by The Public Service Innovation Fund run by Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) following a successful application earlier in the year.  This is a competitive fund that aims to support innovative ideas from across public service organisations and turn them into a reality.  Projects must have a strong focus on outcomes and impact with additional focus on scalability, transferability and learning within the public sector.

Senior Executive Engineer with Waterford Council’s Environment Section, Niall Kane, spoke at the launch of the project this week, saying, “The funding for this project from The Public Service Innovation Fund is integral in the roll out one of the country’s first smart bring bank projects.  The installation of these sensors is a very positive climate action and will result in less journeys by customers and less overheads on the collection contractors.  Not only that, but we are providing live information through a person’s smartphone too, as the sensors provide information on what colour of glass is filling up, where the capacity is in the network and where the next nearest bank might be.”

Galway based firm Magnus Monitors were chosen as partners for the project and have installed some 141 monitors at 70 bring banks across the city and county.  The type of equipment installed is a highly accurate level monitor that can remotely monitor bottle banks of up to 4m in height. Their battery-driven solution is low powered when compared to other mains wired solutions and lasts for up to 5 years.

Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. John O’Leary said, “We were delighted to receive funding for this important project.  Recycling glass benefits businesses as well as the environment as it reduces their carbon footprint and saves money by lowering emissions, the consumption of raw materials and the use of facilities.  If you have ever arrived at your local bottle bank and found it overflowing, now we can help alleviate that.  We’re encouraging citizens to scan the QR code at their bottle bank or check on your smartphone and head to a bring bank with capacity nearby.”

To mark the launch of the monitors, two exciting competitions are planned on local radio and on social media, with daily prizes of commissioned recycled glasswork by An Rinn-based craftsman Eamonn Terry of  Criostal na Rinne and Sean Egan of Sean Egan Art Glass, based in Waterford’s Bishop’s Palace.

For more information on the project, and to check the capacity levels at your local bring centre, see www.waterfordcouncil.ie/bringbanks

Energy Saving Booklet for Waterford households

Waterford City and County Council’s Climate Action Team has published an
Energy-Saving Booklet, developed in direct response to the ongoing global energy crisis which is adversely impacting households and businesses.

Using a common-sense approach to energy saving, the booklet is intended to act as a baseline from which actions can be taken and built upon. While many may be familiar with the tips within, old habits may prevent us from realizing their benefits. Topics covered in the booklet include energy poverty, energy supplier guidance, household appliance energy usage and home energy upgrades.

Climate Action Coordinator with the Council, Gráinne Kennedy says:

Everyone relies on energy to run their homes. Be it for heating, cooking, or powering appliances but in Ireland, we rely primarily on fossil fuels for our energy needs which of course, is not sustainable.  Though a small gesture, it is hoped that the people of Waterford will be able to use the information within this booklet to reduce their energy use with the aim of making cost and emissions savings.”

The booklet has been developed with the primary aims of the reduction of C02 emissions through the mitigation of energy-related emissions and to assist households with the management and reduction of their household energy costs.

The booklet forms part of Waterford City and County Council’s adopted Climate Adaptation Strategy 2019-2024, the Council’s Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality 2040 and commitments made under the EU Covenant of Mayors. Available in English and Irish and containing some 20 pages of information including tip and tricks on energy reduction, as well as a detailed glossary of terms, the booklet will be distributed free of charge to households throughout Waterford in the near future.

Speaking at the launch of the booklet, Mayor of Waterford City and County Council, Cllr. John O’Leary said:

“I’d like to thank all who worked on this valuable booklet and am delighted to see that it will be distributed free of charge around the county.  The cost-of-living crisis effects each one of us and a reference like this will be a useful resource as to what we can all do in our homes and businesses to reduce our energy needs.”

The booklet is also available below.

Swap for the Swap … as part of ReUse month

We all accumulate items during the course of our lives that we have outgrown or no longer have use for, e.g. sporting equipment, school uniforms, clothes etc.

Why not hold a local swap event and help your community become more sustainable? Reusing our items is a positive climate action that we can all do. Follow our ten simple steps to running your own swap event on https://waterfordcouncil.ie/departments/environment/waste-management/index.htm 

You will also find posters on our website for you to print out and use at your swap events. Let’s get swapping!

October is Ireland’s National Reuse Month

October is Ireland’s National Reuse Month and Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr John O’Leary recently launched Reuse Month 2022 at Waterford’s Central Library.

Reuse is about valuing our stuff, by repairing and reusing it for as long and as often as possible.  This avoids the need to extract raw materials, manufacture and distribute new stuff, and avoids waste, all of which cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions. The idea is to bring people beyond the idea of “reduce, reuse and recycle” towards a focus on the prevention of waste in the first place.

National Reuse Month’s aim is to provide the skills and tools to reuse more items every day. For example, you may have already reused by getting shoes resoled rather than replacing them, or borrowing books from the library. To cut down on waste and greenhouse gas emissions, why not go another step this October and prioritise repair, buying second hand, borrowing, swapping and reusing.

There are a whole host of events taking place throughout the city and county to encourage waste prevention.

On October 19th, a Clothes Swap event will be hosted in the Central Library, Lady Lane from 5.30pm.  Bring up to five pieces of clean adult clothing (in good repair) to the library and swap it for the same number of items.  Clothes can be dropped off at the library between 11am and 5.30pm on the day. There will also be a clothing repair demonstration on the night, along with the launch of a ‘toolkit’ for swap events to encourage reuse and repair.  The toolkit will provide tips, posters and social media posts to enable community groups and schools to run swap events for items such as sports equipment, clothes, musical instruments, school supplies and more.

On October 22nd,  Waterford City and County Council will host a Repair Demonstration session with the Rediscovery Centre at the Coastguard Cultural Centre in Tramore.  Learn how to repair furniture, bikes, textiles and washing machines during this session.  There will be experts on hand to help with any questions that you have and while the repair experts won’t be able to undertake any specific repairs on your items, please feel free to bring along photographs of your items and they will happily chat to you about the repair.

  • 11.30am – Furniture Repair and Upcycling
  • 12pm – Bike Repairs
  • 12.30pm – Appliance Repairs
  • 1pm – Textiles Repair and Upcycling

Waste prevention workshops will be held on various dates in library branches. The focus of these workshops is making a reusable food wrap that provides a natural alternative to plastic wraps and to provide a forum to discuss reuse, composting and recycling as the wraps are being made.   On October 28th there will be a Sustainable Living Tips workshop in Lismore Library. Come along to learn about Greener Gardening, Greener Cleaning, composting, food waste prevention and general waste prevention tips.

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REMINDER: Rates saving for Waterford businesses making energy efficiency a priority

In April 2021, Waterford City and County Council agreed that Waterford City would be the designated Decarbonising Zone for Waterford.

Acting as a “Transition Super-Lab”, where real life initiatives to manage the transition from a fossil fuel-based local economy to carbon Net Zero will be designed and implemented, the DZ projects include building energy efficiency, sustainable transport, renewable energy generation and carbon sequestration.

To achieve this aim will require a very significant shift in how all businesses, and the wider community, source and use energy with the aim of substantially reducing energy derived from carbon-based fuels.

As part of their approach, Waterford City and County Council will be seeking to engage with and support businesses as they transition towards carbon neutrality.  The first initiative in 2022 is a discount on the Rates bills for ratepayers whose annual bill is less than €10,000 or operate in the hospitality industry, subject to participation in a short online energy training programme which will include a brief questionnaire.

Applicants who complete the program will have the equivalent of the 5% rates increase due in 2022 credited to their account. The training takes just 10 minutes and on completion of the course the businesses will be able to download information on the grants and supports that are available to them in their efforts to save energy.

Accounts must also be fully paid, and the training must be completed by September 30th, 2022 to avail of the discount.

Businesses can register for the training by visiting https://submit.link/16z or by scanning the QR code: