2018 was a busy year for VOICE campaigning on the Waste Reduction Bill at home and in Europe on the Single Use Plastics legislation, running the Recycling Ambassador and Zero Waste Cashel Programmes, our continued involvement with Conscious Cup Campaign and grass roots events such as Plastic free July, and the Sick of Plastic campaign

 2019 is already showing the fruits of some of that labour. ThroughoutJanuary the issues of waste and plastics have been very much to thefore in the public discourse. VOICE is heartened to see theimplementation of the single use plastic ban in government buildings,coming into effect by the end of March of this year. Ireland'stargets of 55% plastic recycling are clearly weighing on the mind ofthe Government as Minister Bruton also announced this month a review group to examine single use plastic bottles in Ireland. Among the issues beingexamined include a deposit return scheme (DRS) for water bottles.This is a welcomed action which has been championed by VOICE foryears, and is specifically mentioned in the Waste Reduction Bill. However, the government has a history of skeptisism towards such schemes. The government must also support initiatives that promotethe reduction of waste generation as well.  

 Internationally retailers Tesco and Carrefour have announced theirinvolvement with a packaging free shopping trial. The trial would test a refillable container system called LOOP insome of their Paris stores this Spring. What this shows is theeffectiveness of both on the ground actions by citizens and theimportance of lobbying our politicians on issues. Here at home thereare an increasing number of local packaging free stores and servicesacross the country who have been setting an example on this, andshowing consumers and retailers how it’s done.

 As waste has been in the news so has VOICE. An episode of EcoEyeaddressing waste in Ireland featured an Interview with Mindy O’Brienearlier this month, and she could also be heard talking on Newstalks Between the lines with fellow panelists Senator Grace O’Sullivan and Oisin Coughlanof Friends of the Earth. While over on Virgin media three Recycling Ambassador Triona Reid()was discussing recycling with Elaine and Clodagh kelly was discussing fast fashion

 Looking forward,VOICE is gearing up to a new year of projects andactions. Along with our ongoing campaigning and community work, wewill shortly be unveiling our plastic in the home project which hasrecently been awarded EPA funding. We will be rolling out theConscious Communities project, seeking to help communities reducetheir impacts and we continue to work with businesses to help increase their sustainability.