Sustainable Waste & Resource Management
Bainistiú Acmhainní & Dramhaíola Inbhuanaithe
In this Category the Tidy Towns Adjudicator can award 50 Marks
Tidy Towns Adjudication Criteria:
Describe activities on how you manage waste and promote efficient use of resources (e.g. water, energy, transport) in your community. Provide evidence of practical steps taken to prevent or reduce waste produced across your community (e.g. householders, businesses, and schools) or how you reuse your resources. Provide examples of awareness campaigns, events or activities hosted by the community (e.g. details of any workshops/demonstrations held since your last entry).
The best waste is the one that is not produced!
For a considerable number of years people have become committed to the concept of recycling waste, we have all got used to having a kerbside “Dry Goods Recycle Bin” (Green Bin) and a kerbside “Organic Recycle Bin” (Brown Bin) collection every fortnight, or visiting our local “Civic Amenity Centre” to deposit material for treatment and recycling. Recycling initiatives are by now well established in Newbridge principally provided by:
- Kerbside collection for Dry Recyclables (aka the “Green” Bin);
- Kerbside collection for Organic Recyclables (aka the “Brown” Bin)
- Kerbside collection for Glass
- “Charity” Shops – Clothes, Toys, Household, Books etc.
- Bring Banks for Glass
- Bring Banks for Cans
- Bring Banks for Clothes & Fabric
Recycling is very important, and is well catered for in Newbridge – however Recycling of all the materials above require the product to be processed through a “Waste Treatment” process prior to the material being available for a new use.
The emphasis in these times has changed from Recycling to Waste Prevention – preventing or avoiding creating the waste in the first instance, thus reducing the need for recycling altogether.
The Waste Pyramid has changed and now looks like this:
Elimination of or avoidance of unnecessary resource consumption, reducing the amount that is produced, reducing the hazardous content of that waste and reducing its impact on the environment and the consequential cost of disposal. Waste Prevention / Elimination is by far the most favourable waste management option.
Reduce waste generation and ultimately the need for disposal, and act to reduce the consumption of scarce and finite natural resources – e.g. energy, water and fuel etc. If the waste is not generated, it no longer needs to be recycled, or disposed of in Landfill
Reuse waste resources without further manufacturing, don’t throw it out, sell it to someone who wants it or donate to a “Charity” outlet. Donate unwanted books / magazines to a nursing home or care centre, check if the local schools have a reuse policy for schoolbooks. Donate unused mobile phones to charity shops or mobile phone outlets. Think local – reusing unwanted goods within the community is more sustainable than transporting them long distances for recycling.
Recycle if you cannot prevent, eliminate, or reuse your waste materials, the next best option is to recycle them. Use your local glass bottle banks / can banks located at Dunne’s Stores, Tesco’s, & Lidl. Use your Green Bin, Brown Bin and recycle your WEEE electrical waste and batteries in your local shops. Look out for recycling events in your community, some local companies and community organisations organise licenced scrap metal collections.
Recover waste resources, including the energy recovery. Increasingly waste will be sent for “thermal treatment” whereby combustible non-hazardous residual waste is incinerated to produce heat and electricity.
Dispose of waste in the Black / Blue Bin only if there is no viable alternative, ensuring that the waste is first treated to eliminate or reduce the hazardous nature of the waste. Disposal / Landfill is the least favourable method of disposing of your waste.
What resources do we need to manage?
- Heating Oil;
- Solid Fuel – Turf, Coal, Briquettes;
- Petrol / Diesel;
- Car use;
- Public Transport;
- Solid waste;
- Food waste, “food miles”;
- What can be reused?
- Time – efficient use of time including volunteer time.
In the Home:
- Avoiding disposable (one-use) products, and reuse shopping bags rather than the one-use plastic bags;
- Stop Food Waste – we waste so much food every week, try carrying out a survey at home for one week, and you will be surprised how much food you waste every week. Surveys have shown that an average household throws away €700 worth of food each year so there are big monetary as well as environmental savings to be made from reducing food waste. Check the www.foodwaste.ie Food Waste Website or www.stopfoodwaste.ie Stop Food Waste Website for guidance.
- Repair before replace – we have become somewhat of a “throwaway” society, if you have something that needs fixing it is preferable (and often cheaper) to get your broken item fixed / repaired rather than purchasing anew.
- Junk Mail can be an issue for many households, and much of this mail is often thrown straight into the recycling bin. The Irish Direct Marketing Association (IDMA) operates a “Mailing Preference Service”, and you can remove yourself from direct mailing lists at www.idma.ie/what-is-mps Interactive Direct Marketing Association Website.
- Insulate your home thus preventing heat escaping through the windows, doors and attics – there may be grants available – have you considered solar energy?
The Green Home Website provides advice to householders on ways to save money on household bills in the areas of Energy, Water, Waste & Transport. The benefit of this is twofold it benefits the householder and benefits the environment. In essence it is bringing the Green Schools message with which we are all familiar back home.
In the Community:
- Greening your Festival – Greening your festival is easy, there are no set rules – just common sense addressing some of the following – waste, water, energy, food. For some ideas visit www.greenyourfestival.ie Greening your Festival Website.
- Community Garden / Allotments – Is there an opportunity to start a community garden and or an allotment scheme in the community? This type of project encourages growing food locally – cutting down on transportation costs. It could include vegetable areas, planting fruit trees and bushes in public places for everyone to use. For further information check out the www.communitygardennetwork.ning.com Community Gardening Website
- Shop local, by supporting local businesses you help secure employment, as improving the local economy and save on transport costs.
- Support your local “Charity” shop – both with donations and purchases.
Check out some tips on the Local Prevention Community Website.
In the Garden:
- Composting – are you composting garden waste at home, or your household food waste, if you cannot compost at home please ensure you use a kerbside brown bin for all organic waste. For further information and tips on composting/wormeries check the Irish Peatland Conservation Council Website .
- Mulching grass clippings means that you leave the grass on the ground rather than disposing of it in the Organic “Brown” Bin. Almost without exception lawn clippings should always be mulched back into the lawn, thus providing nutrients from the organic matter to the soil. When purchasing your next mower ask your supplier to recommend a mower designed for mulching, and as long as the lawn is mowed (reasonably) regularly the lawn clippings will rot back into the soil.
In your Business:
- Reduce Waste – assess waste collection, gas, water, transport and energy bills and implement measures to reduce usage and help your bottom line as well as the environment;
- Reuse pallets or any other delivery containers;
- Consider implementing an accredited Environmental Management System;
- Retailers could (and should) divert surplus food to charity;
EPA Be Green Website
Local Authority Prevention Network (LAPN) Website
SMILE Resource Exchange Website (Free business resource exchange)
REPAK Prevent & Save Website
Enterprise Ireland Website (environmental supports)
Food Waste Prevention in Business Website
Green Schools are very proactive, if your school is not registered look up the An Taisce Green Schools Programme Website to find out how you can participate.
Check out the European Waste Reduction Week Website – this initiative promotes the implementation of awareness-raising actions about sustainable resource and waste management during a single week Europe wide. It looks for participation from Government, local authorities, private companies, civil society as well as citizens themselves. European Waste Reduction Week takes place in November each year.