Cashel bids to become Ireland’s First ‘Zero Waste’ Community

Cashel in County Tipperary is bidding to become Ireland’s first ‘zero waste’ community following in the footsteps of over 200 towns and cities worldwide, including San Francisco and Ljubljana, which have embraced the principle.

VOICE, an environmental charity specialising in waste and the circular economy, has joined forces with the Southern Regional Waste Management Office (SRWMO) to commence a ‘towards zero waste’ pilot programme in Cashel.

The global movement is based on the principle of the circular economy whereby very little goes to waste through waste prevention, reuse and repair, recycling and composting.

“Our Earth has limited natural resources such as metals and minerals but unlimited potential in the circular economy,” said Mindy O’Brien, Coordinator from VOICE, whose counts Darina Allen, Pauline Bewick, Don Conroy, Dick Warner and Christy Moore among its patrons.

She continued, “Ireland has made huge strides in recycling programmes over the past 15 years and this initiative is the next logical step in creating a more circular economy through the prevention of waste. With the new Pay-by-Weight waste charges going into effect this July, zero waste not only makes environmental and societal sense, it also makes economic sense.”

“We have met with community leaders from Cashel Tidy Towns, The Lions Club, the Community Centre, Cashel Chamber of Commerce and Tipperary County Council and have received a positive response,” added Ms. O’Brien.

Cashel Councillor Michael Fitzgerald added “I wish Cashel every success in its bid to become Ireland’s first zero waste community. It would be true recognition for a town that has contributed so much to promote and develop our tourist industry. Cashel with its world famous Rock can become a zero waste community and this would be due in no small way to the wonderful efforts of all the local and voluntary groups who present Cashel in an attractive and positive way to visitors from all over the world. I offer my full support to this wonderful endeavour.”

“‘Zero waste’ doesn’t happen overnight, but rather, it is a journey to find out what initiatives work and what don’t.  We look forward to working with the residents of Cashel to unearth new business potential in the ‘green economy’ and to reduce waste generation as much as possible,” stated Pauline McDonagh, Waste Prevention Officer, SRWMO.

“Waste is now viewed as a valuable resource rather than something to throw away.  To embrace this new paradigm, 200 localities of all different sizes around the world have become ‘zero waste’ communities.

While diverse in nature, the one thing they all have in common is that they have embraced ‘zero waste’ and have reduced their waste significantly while encouraging the development of new businesses and industries.  For example, take-away food businesses in San Francisco now all serve their dishes in compostable containers, which has fostered a new compostable container manufacturing sector,” said Ms. McDonagh.

This ‘zero waste’ initiative, which has received funding from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and the SRWMO, will be an 18-month pilot.