Cashel ready to rock a Zero Waste standard

Published by Eric Maher on

10 March 2017

It is rather fitting that an area synonymous for being a metropolis for a plethora of functions in the past, ranging from ecclesiastic to lordship,  should now find itself cast as Ireland’s zero waste capital.Image result for voice charity ireland

This act of cultural reinvention through recycling officially kicked off earlier this month with the people of Cashel taking up the mantle of environmental ambassadors. They are determined to meet the challenge of promoting and maintaining the first Toward Zero Waste Town in Ireland.

Zero Waste Cashel’s Facebook page set out their stall, “Cashel will become Ireland’s first ‘Zero Waste’ community following in the footsteps of over 200 towns and cities worldwide which have embraced the principle. Zero Waste is a global movement based on the principle of the circular economy whereby very little goes to waste through waste prevention, reuse and repair, recycling and composting.”

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Voice coordinator,Mindy O’Brien, and project manager, Derry O’ Donnell, at the project’s launch on March 2nd

Towards Zero Waste Cashel is a Voice initiative, supported by Southern Waste Region, Tipperary County Council and the EPA. Speaking at its launch, Voice’s coordinator, Mindy O’Brien, stressed that, zero waste had been done in other countries and other communities and it’s a journey rather than a destination. In Ireland we throw away about 330 kilos per head…. What we want to do in our 18 month pilot is to reduce that waste by 25%”

Roger Kennedy, Cathaoirleach of Cashel Tipperary Council, reiterated Ms. O’Brien’s sentiments. “We need to do everything we can to improve the environment so that we can in future generations hand on a better environment and a better community to the generations that are coming after us.”

Volunteers saddled down with some great repaired and upcycled items.

So what is Cashel doing to cut down on their waste?

All involved are working hard to reduce waste, increase reuse and repair, and raise composting and recycling rates. There will be numerous projects to encourage behavioral change when dealing with waste management. Some of these projects will concentrate at proper segmentation of waste – with the project emphasizing “brown is the new black” when it comes to the fashionability of rubbish bins, reducing the number of single use items per household and upcycling or repairing old items. Going to and using car boot sales, markets, charity shops and vintage stores is also being promoted.

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One person’s rubbish is another person’s………….. designer-styled dress.

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Project Manager, Derry O’ Donnell, was aware of the challenges they faced but spoke excitedly about the opportunities arising from the project. “We have seen how people can create unique pieces of furniture and other items when they begin to look at objects destined for landfill in a new light. There is so much that can be done with waste when we start exploring new ideas.”

Native of Cashel, Paul Murphy, saw the initiative as something that reinforced Cashel’s community spirit. “It has obvious environmental benefits but, along with that, there is a strong social aspect to the project. It’ll get people, young and old, out and about and hopefully be a real boost to local businesses and centres.”


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Community members involved in Towards Zero Waste Cashel


Cashel now found themselves in the same league as over 200 European towns and cities who have the same goal of guiding people to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are resources for others to use. Implementing Zero Waste hope to eliminate all discharges to land, water, or air that may be a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health. ”

To find out more about the initiative click here.

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Eric Maher

Eric Maher is a contributor to the Green News. He has a Masters in Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama from UCD.