‘Recycling Ambassadors’ and ‘Sick of Plastic’


We are drowning in a world of plastic. Environment ministers from around the world are meeting this week in Kenya to combat pollution and so save millions of human lives and protect ecosystems. Here in Ireland plastic packaging is all around us and many of us are confused about what we should put in our recycling bins. This week, we feature two new waste related initiatives. The ‘Recycling Ambassador’ Programme and the ‘Sick of Plastic’ campaigns have been launched recently by two separate Irish environmental organisations – VOICE and Friends of the Earth. A full list of what can be recycled is now available at recyclinglistireland.ie. 


It is understandable that many people are confused about what goes in the recycling bin as instructions on wrapping are not always applicable to Ireland. Only rigid plastic is acceptable in our recycling bins.

Suzi Cahn, Project Manager, Recycling Ambassador Programme

Recycling ambassadors will be giving talks and workshops to help people all over Ireland to recycle right. The VOICE organisation now has a Recycling Ambassador team in each region and the project is being headed up nationally by Suzi Cahn. Full details are available at ‘Recycling Ambassador Programme’ at voiceireland.org. A request for a workshop can be emailed to suzie@voiceireland.org.


Earlier this year, 160 containers of waste from domestic recycling bins in Ireland were stopped in Rotterdam en route to China because of contamination. The Recycling Ambassador Programme is an initiative to improve Ireland’s recycling rates and reduce levels of contamination in household recycling bins. While the Programme is being delivered by the environmental organisation VOICE, it is being funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, and the Regional Waste Management Offices and REPAK .

A definitive list of recyclable items is now available on a new website . recyclinglistireland.ie. This is the first single national standard list of items that you can recycle.


The national environmental campaign group, Friends of the Earth wants to do something about the fact that we are drowning in plastic. The group’s ‘Sick of Plastic’ campaign aims to dramatically reduce single-use plastic waste in Ireland. The group is seeking a ban or levy on plastic coffee cups and a deposit and return scheme for plastic bottles. In addition Friends of the Earth plans to press supermarkets to reduce the plastic packaging on the products they sell.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation in the UK recently reported that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. Friends of the Earth says Ireland should be leading the charge to stop this. With over 2 million disposable coffee cups a day being wasted in Ireland right now, the Group is offering a new, limited-edition Friends of the Earth ‘Keep Cup’ to people who pledge €12 a month or more to their campaign. For more details see foe.ie.

Click here to find out What’s on in December and January

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