05 August 2018

Meet Our Recycling Ambassadors

Meet Our Recycling Ambassadors

Síofra - Connacht-Ulster Recycling Ambassador

Síofra, Connacht-Ulster Recycling Ambassador, has a particular interest in sustainable fashion and garment waste. Recycling household waste is just the tip of the ice berg in terms of achieving a circular economy, we need to start thinking beyond our household recycling bins and become aware of the life span of everything we consume and how we will eventually dispose of them. 

"My background is in Fashion Design, I trained at NCAD and Belfast School of Art and worked for companies such as Adidas, Portwest, Levi’s and Game of Thrones. Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world and in each job I became more and more aware of the negative environmental impact. From the mismanagement of dye waste to the over ordering of product that would go straight to landfill, my eyes were opened and I became totally disillusioned.

I read the book ‘Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the way we make things’ by Michael Braungart and was inspired to try and set up my own business that was sustainable and eco conscious. The concept of ‘Cradle to Cradle’ is to create products that have an end of life value to them; for example they can decompose or be reused in some innovative way. I set up my business, Jump The Hedges, and began making bags from reclaimed lorry tarpaulin and waste banner material. Both materials normally go straight to landfill at the end of their life. Due to the nature of the material each bag is totally unique and consumers love that they are buying a product that is both unique and good for the environment.

Working as a Recycling Ambassador has really complimented my business and passion for zero waste living. I have had the opportunity to speak to people from all across Ulster and Connaught and have been so impressed with the level of community engagement and enthusiasm. I visited schools in Leitrim and was amazed at the level of knowledge the children had around microplastics and ideas for reusing things. It is so encouraging to see how keen people are to live zero waste and eco consciously.

I have been awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship for 2018 which is an opportunity to research a subject area internationally in order to bring positive impact to your own community. My research topic is ‘Building a Zero Waste Community’ and within this I have three areas I am focusing on; Design, Community and Education. I have already visited Zurich and Copenhagen and will be spending two months travelling across the USA and Canada on the last part of my trip. I will visit zero waste design companies and business incubators, zero waste communities and zero waste cities. I will be documenting my trip on my Instagram and also on my blog."