Meet our Recycling Ambassadors
Imelda - Connacht Ulster Region Recycling Ambassador
Imelda Ryan-Jones is a VOICE Recycling Ambassador based in the West of Ireland. Imelda’s 20+ years experience, combined with her enthusiasm and track record made her perfect for the Recycling Ambassador role. She has thoroughly enjoyed engaging her audiences to help increase recycling rates in Ireland and reduce contamination of recycling bins.
“I hadn’t even heard of VOICE until I saw the advert, which is something I share with the audience when I deliver each Recycling Workshop. It helps get myself and the audience on the same level, they understand that I’m the same as them and we all agree that we certainly should have most especially as VOICE was instrumental in bringing about the Plastic Bag Tax in Ireland!”
I love that the new Recycling List is quite straightforward, this is something I emphasise when showing groups all the materials that can be recycled in Ireland during workshops. I like to share that I too had a few bad recycling habits prior to learning the right way of recycling from VOICE, I would have put a plastic bottle into a cardboard cereal box for example, not realising it was a no no. I often repeat the mantras; 'everything must be clean, loose, empty & dry' and 'if in doubt leave it out'.
The engaging sessions empower individuals to become part of the solution, giving the audience knowledge and understanding of how they can recycle more. I also show the audience a range of products with packaging that cannot be recycled and this often comes as quite a surprise. When I discovered the only part of Pringles packaging that can be recycled is the lid, I decided to no longer buy Pringles. I will buy products like this again when their packaging has been changed to a recyclable material. This is my way of voting with my note.
People are great, there is definitely a huge desire to do the right thing, especially when they learn exactly what they can put in their bins - it is so much easier for people to care when they are aware. It doesn’t matter if we did it wrong yesterday, as long as we get on the right track today - that’s when we all become part of the solution and not part of the pollution.
I love the influencing aptitude of people in our communities, and that change happens thanks to face to face engagement. It’s very rewarding when members of the audience are genuinely delighted with their new knowledge. That’s what it is all about, us of all helping each other. These moments resonate with people and can make a lasting positive impact.
It’s definitely been an exciting journey so far with VOICE. Next up is the Sligo County Agricultural Show on Saturday 21st July. As well as enjoying the amazing animals on show I will be chatting to all the farmers about recycling. I’ll have plenty of fridge magnets to give out to the ladies and gentlemen on the day too."
In her spare time Imelda likes to write, and won the National Heritage Week Storytelling Competition in 2011 with her tale Mr & Mrs Oldenday. She is sharing her story Cute Little Pet and Love Your Books during Cairde Arts Festival at both Libre Bookshop and Sligo Library and also during Heritage Week. She is married to the artist Matt Jones Woodturner and they have four children.
Pictured above: Imelda with Manorhamilton Tidy Towns, Co. Leitrim at The Glens Centre.