06 November 2018

Meet Our Recycling Ambassadors

Meet Our Recycling Ambassadors

Tom Seaver - Eastern Midlands Recycling Ambassador

Tom has a degree in Environmental Science and an MSc in Environmental Sustainability. A professional life in green NGOs and passion for green issues in personal life exposed him to everything from waste, forestry, building, energy, and biodiversity to cycling and more. This helped form his outlook that everything and everyone is more interconnected than we tend to think.

"This whole ‘sustainability’ lark is a funny one. It has so many dimensions, so many inter-related moving parts having an effect on one another making it hard sometimes to give a concise definition. Moving towards something we can’t really define then can seem daunting… However, we have to try!

My experience with the Recycling Ambassador Programme (RAP) has been overwhelmingly positive. One of the most surprising things has been the people I’ve met. Some are super keen. Some are bamboozled about recycling. Some shrug their shoulders, saying, ‘what’s the point?’, and are somewhat nihilistic about the whole thing. This is exactly why I think the RAP is needed, and should go on.

In a weird way, I’ve grown to love meeting those fed up in the workshops. Sometimes, they’ve been given false information and it’s a chance to dispel myths about recycling. Other times though, they have nuanced enough understanding to know that recycling is often sub-optimal. We don’t know exactly the answers to sustainability, but recycling is at least a step in the right direction. We know we won’t recycle our way out of the mess, but it can be a perfect set of ‘training wheels’ to get people on board.

I’ve sat in rooms with architects and engineers who say, ‘let’s just automate everything, from the floor to the ceiling. That way it would be impossible to be wasteful’. Maybe this is true, but you’re leaving so much behind. Recycling is one strand in the tapestry of sustainability, and the RAP allows us to focus on it. The RAP has thought me that so many people really want to live a greener life, but are unsure how, as well as how wrong those architects and engineers were to not involve people!

The difference I’ve seen from last December to now has been huge. People are less flabbergasted when I tell them what plastic won’t be recycled domestically in Ireland. I think it’s starting to work, I daresay? It’s a big ol’ ship, but when it moves, it all moves together."

Image: Recycling Workshop at F2 Centre Dublin 8