The war in Ukraine and the cost of living crisis have resulted in a very difficult year for people. We are very proud of what we have achieved this year, with the help and support of our team, volunteers and supporters. We are always so humbled by the strength and determination of the hard-working communities here in Ireland. The VOICE achievements are the achievements of all.
THANKS TO YOU.
At the end of the day, VOICE is a charity. We only exist because we have people like you who are supporting us – thank you. We would not be here if it were not for the volunteers that come on board to help in any way they can, our supporters who fill out our petitions, who share our beliefs and help to spread the word, our sponsors that literally keep the lights on and our team on the ground. Our achievements this year belong to us all. We have a vision of a zero-waste Ireland, and this year we just got a whole lot closer.
WE TURNED TWENTY-FIVE.
A quarter of a century of being a leading voice of Irish concern for the environment. My, how Ireland has changed, however, the support for VOICE and our mission has never been stronger. We cannot continue to live outside our planetary boundaries. Together, we will continue our mission to reduce waste and transition to a circular economy for a sustainable future.
Looking back to the beginning of 2022, we hit the ground running with an open letter penned by our Chief Executive, Mindy O’Brien, Claire Downey from the Rediscovery Centre and signed by the Environmental Pillar called on Ministers Eamon Ryan and Ossian Smyth to make proposed key revisions to the Circular Economy Bill before it is brought forward to the Dáil for the Second stage.
On the 22nd of July President Michael D. Higgins signed the Circular Economy Bill into law, this act is a culmination of years of hard work for us here at VOICE, and while there is still a lot to do, we can not help but cheer on this monumental moment with gusto. We will continue to keep the pressure on and make sure any targets set are ambitious enough to make a real difference.
We wrote an important report detailing how and why Irish Supermarkets should move away from single-use packaging and towards reusable packaging. Our report had 13 recommendations that would ensure a seamless transition for businesses and customers. It also detailed why the setting of reuse targets is so important (otherwise what’s the point?). At its most simple this report is a REALLY good understanding of what reusable packaging is and how it can be used. READ THE REPORT HERE.
In Portlaoise with EAO Suzanne Dempsey and members of the Laois Tidy Towns group.
You might have seen our Reverse Vending Machine on the road near you. We’ve learned over the years that public support is the most important part of any scheme. We have given people the chance to come and try out a working reverse vending machine in person! Colin, as always, was on hand to chat about the benefits of a DRS and what it would be like for people when it eventually comes in (2023). KEEP UP TO DATE ON IRELAND'S DRS.
Thousands of children and families in Ireland are becoming Picker Pals! The Picker Pals team has continued to make this fun and interactive programme more and more dynamic. Now, only three years since its creation, half the primary schools in Ireland are signed up to Picker Pals and we can see why. FIND OUT MORE HERE.
We were part of the first-ever European-wide analysis of the role that supermarkets play in addressing plastic pollution, this report confirms what we already know; Ireland's supermarkets are paying lip service to the problem of unnecessary packaging. VOICE facilitated this report. We then ranked each of the supermarkets based on their scores with TESCO receiving 3/100(FAIL), Lidl 16/100 (Fail), Aldi 61/100 (C), and both Dunnes Stores and Supervalu receiving 0/100 for non-compliance. READ THE REPORT HERE.
VOICE, as part of our ‘NoPlastic. Period’ Campaign launched a secondary school programme that focuses on highlighting the positives around the use of reusable menstrual items such as cost savings compared to disposables, and their convenience of use, rather than focusing on the negatives of disposables. FOLLOW OUR CAMPAIGN.
Over the past year, we have worked closely with dedicated communities in west Cork. Through the SECAD training programme we helped each community understand, develop and launch its own community-level roadmap outlining its goals and aims for what a more sustainable town will look like, to them. This project culminated with each community taking one of its ideas and bringing it to fruition. We were blown away by the ideas and the successes of these volunteers. We had brilliant projects such as installing a new walkway along the river in Skibbereen (currently an unused bit of the town), a monthly farmers market in Baltimore (to avoid food waste),a walkway and cycleway plan that join up footpaths and cycle lanes so that primary and secondary schools are accessible by foot and wheel, the installation of wind turbines…the list goes on.
We went to the ‘Zero Waste Cities’ training in Brussels. At this event, we increased our understanding of the most sustainable and waste-reducing disposal methods in use at present and how to effectively advocate for such practices to be adopted in Ireland. We also learned about the Zero Waste Cities Certification, the pursuit of which may prove to be game-changing across Europe. The big news during the year; our very own Mindy O’ Brien, was announced as the newest member of the Zero Waste Europe Board!
As we look to 2022, we know how important it is to keep working towards a zero-waste world, one that everyone can experience and enjoy.
See you in Jan!