It is estimated that Irish households reuse less than 5% of the amount of waste discarded every year, but some savvy shopping in Ireland’s many high quality charity shops could help increase that figure while significantly decreasing the cost of that special outfit this National Reuse Month.
Beginning this Monday, October 1, 2018, National Reuse Month was developed by Ireland’s three Waste Management Offices (Connacht/Ulster, Eastern/Midlands, and Southern) in conjunction with Ireland’s 31 local authorities. Its aims is to encourage people to reuse everyday items as often as possible, while also considering alternative options to buying new items that might only be used once.
Sinéad Ní Mhainnín Waste Prevention Officer with the Connacht Ulster Regional Waste Management Office said, “Reuse Month opens up the possibilities of borrowing, repurposing or purchasing good quality reused goods. Special Reuse events, seminars and information points take place throughout every region and county this October, and will provide people with the skills, tools and know how to reuse more.”
The Irish Charity Shops Association (ICSA) has long been an advocate of donating and purchasing good quality reused goods.
Linda Ward, ICSA Secretary said, ”Charity shops are an important part of the retail landscape in villages, towns and cities in every county in Ireland. Our members' shops generated €64 million in revenue in 2017 and our membership is growing as more charities realise the benefits of charity retailing.
“ICSA member shops provide economic, social and environmental benefits. We provide well priced high quality goods to the consumer and all money raised goes towards funding essential services across a range of areas in communities nationwide. We provide social employment, upskilling and training as well as many volunteering opportunities. Clothing, books, furniture and homeware is reused and given a new lease of life, thereby reducing waste and is hugely beneficial to our environment."
The ICSA is a member of the The Community Reuse Network Ireland (CRNI).
CRNI member reused an estimated 20,400 tonnes of goods last year and recycled over 57,000 tonnes. Their efforts sustained more than 800 jobs, 350 job scheme training positions and 7,600 voluntary positions.
Claire Downey CRNI Executive said, “It is estimated that we disposed or recycled 2.5 million tonnes of waste in 2014*, making our reuse rate less than 1% of that total. Even if five times this amount was reused, taking account of any online exchanges, vintage stores, swap sites or car boot sales not included in the CRNI study, it still indicates that less than 5% of all of the goods we throw away are actually reused.”
Supporting Reuse Month Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment Denis Naughten said, “People already reuse items as part of their everyday lives, at home, at work and at play. For example many people have their favourite shoes resoled rather than replacing them, borrow books from the library, or share tools and equipment when doing jobs around the house.
“These habits all avoid the need to manufacture and distribute new products and cuts down on waste, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions. National Reuse Month is about growing these habit of buying second hand and upcycled, prioritising repair, borrowing, swapping and refilling. We all do it to some degree, by doing a little bit more we are benefiting our whole community and environment,” he added.