My Home, My Community
We do not live in isolation: all of us are part of a community whether we choose to engage or not. It is in the nature of us to commune with each other, and we have a long history of successful public good volunteerism – the bedrock of any community. In general, communities comprise residential, business, educational, spiritual, sporting and social actors and activities. A community is usually the main determinant of the quality of its local environment. There is clear international evidence that a vibrant, inclusive and engaged community yields better health and environmental outcomes for all the residents, businesses, schools, etc., within it, i.e. they are more sustainable. You and your community can be a positive influence for a better future. The information in this section introduces you to ideas on what you can do and what is available to assist you. All of the best environmental and social ideas including change begins in a community.
My Local Environment
My Local Environment provides an easy to use address search tool letting users locate their own homes, workplaces or points of interest. It gives you important environmental data up to 15km from your location.
Simply enter your address in the search field, or click where you live on the map. The search results will tell you the number of features found around your local environment for these different topics:
- Air quality stations
- Water features
- EPA regulated activities
- Radiation monitoring locations
- Soil type
- Historic mines
Each set of results also includes an “Information” option to explain more about what the search results mean and how you access more information.
My Local Environment gives you summary information for the location you have selected including the likely radon concentrations for that location, soil types, aquifer types and domestic waste water risk for rural areas.
If you would like to find out more click here.
The national TidyTowns competition is an annual competition in which the towns involved are judged and rated on all areas of the environment. The overall winner is given the title of 'Ireland's Tidiest Town’.
All over the country the efforts of hundreds of TidyTowns committees and tens of thousands of volunteers improve the environment in which we live, and contribute to making our communities better places to live, work and do business in.
The competition involves participating areas being rated on all aspects of their local environment, including;
- Community Involvement & Planning
- Built Environment and Streetscape
- Landscaping and Open Spaces
- Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities
- Sustainable Waste and Resource Management
- Tidiness and Litter Control
- Residential Streets & Housing Areas
- Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes
The EPA sponsors a Tidy Towns special category award for waste prevention. Visit our website to learn more and find some inspiration for things you can do to reduce waste and use less in your community.
Green Schools is an environmental education programme in Irish schools that encourages long-term positive environmental action. The aim is to increase student and participant awareness of environmental issues through classroom studies, and to transfer this knowledge into positive environmental action in the school and also in the wider community. Schools that have successfully completed all the elements of the programme are awarded the ‘Green-Flag’. This award is a well-recognised Eco-Label and has to be renewed every two years.
Schools undertaking the programme work through seven steps under each of the following themes, one at a time:
- Litter & Waste
- Global Citizenship - Litter & Waste
- Global Citizenship - Energy
Working through one theme at a time makes the task more manageable and it allows schools to build on their experience, expertise and best practice as they work from theme to theme.
Green-Schools in Ireland is operated and co-ordinated by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce, in partnership with local authorities throughout the country. Visit our website to join the programme and learn more.
Community Reuse Network Ireland
Community Reuse Network Ireland (CRNI) is the All-island network for reuse and recycling organisations in Ireland. The Network is an umbrella body that represents community based organisations involved in a broad range of reuse and recycling activities.
CRNI promotes resource efficiency at national level, divert resources from landfill as well as providing advice and guidance to members and starter reuse organisations. CRNI is a key stakeholder in policy development around waste management, resource efficiency and social protection. CRNI along with its members, has the potential to play a unique and valuable role in the development of resource efficiency and circular economy initiatives at both local and national levels. Many of its members are social enterprises who provide employment and training to those who, for whatever reason, find themselves distanced from the jobs market.
CRNI is kindly supported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the National Waste Prevention Programme.
At CRNI, used items are considered as materials rather than as waste. Then with some imagination, a little smart thinking, a dash of inventiveness, a stitch in time and a lick of paint something cool, quirky or just plain useful can be created! Reusing, upcycling, repurposing and recycling items means less waste and more savings in terms of money, resources and energy. All of this helps to make a more sustainable world. In addition, local jobs are created and local economies receive a boost. For further tips on reuse, see this article we prepared as part of our Green Business reuse pop-up shop project.
Resource efficiency solutions for households and communities
As CRNI members are embedded in the local communities where they operate, they offer households a local, practical and cost efficient way to reuse and recycle household items from furniture, clothes, electrical items, mattresses, paints and all manner of things. CRNI also encompasses online resource exchange for businesses (SMILE Resource Exchange) and households (Free Trade Ireland). The Irish Charity Shop Association (ICSA) is also a CRNI member and its website provides information on bona fide charity shops and charity collections. As all our members operate to the highest environmental standards, householders have the peace of mind that the items collected by or donated to CRNI organisations will be managed in the most environmentally friendly way possible.
CRNI members also provide good quality items and services at extremely reasonable prices to householders and local communities. Items our members produce include upcycled and second hand furniture, beautifully (and locally) made clothes and soft furnishings, refurbished PCs and laptops, recycled paints and low cost art materials. In addition, many CRNI members provide repair and refurbishment services for items such as furniture, clothes and bicycles. Such ‘make, mend and do’ skills are central to creating a more resource efficient society and CRNI members run various repair and reuse courses and workshops to promote and pass on these skills within their communities.
Find further information on CRNI website or follow CRNI on social media (Facebook and Twitter).
For information on reuse providers closest to your locality, download Reuse It, CRNI’s smartphone app, from Google play or the App Store.
Green Your Festival is an initiative to improve the environmental performance of events, festivals and destinations in their regions. Local authorities participating in waste prevention initiatives are determined to make fun in Ireland more sustainable and have helped many festival/event organisers and destination managers to go green.
Ireland is famous for world-class festivals, events and destinations. Several thousand of these happen all over the country, all year round. While they provide major social, financial and cultural benefits, they can also have significant environmental impacts. To reduce this environmental impact, the Green Your Festival website has been set up to provide support materials and guidance to help them start to go green.
Many events and destinations have already been greened in partnership with the local authorities in their regions, and the experience and know-how already developed is available for free so that others can take the step towards more sustainable fun.
Greening your festival is easy. There are some basic steps, which should be followed, but there are no set rules – just common sense.
Step 1: Green plan: To make sure there is commitment at every level, write a simple charter for greening your festival or event and get your committee to endorse it.
Step 2: Get the message out that the event is going green: The key to the successful greening of a festival or event is to involve and inform staff, volunteers and visitors.
Step 4: Involve the exhibitors: from where they purchase their products, to complying with waste management arrangements, you need to get the exhibitors involved.
Read about the many Irish festivals, events and destinations that have already gone down the green route, including Thomond Park, the Iverk Show, Bloom, and various Food Festivals around the country.
See It? Say It!
The EPA has developed an iPhone and Android App, called See it? Say It! to help people to report environmental pollution in their town and village.
This App makes it easy for people to report a pollution incident the moment they see it. Using the App you can take a photograph of a pollution incident, add a summary description of what you want to convey and your contact details and this will automatically be sent to the relevant local authority for follow up (and the app will add GPS location coordinates).
The App augments the existing environmental complaints phoneline 1850 365 121 is available 24hrs a day, 7 days a week and all calls are answered by dedicated staff who pass the reported information to the relevant body for follow up such as local authorities, the Gardaí or the EPA. So, you can now report issues such as backyard burning, flytipping, water pollution, odours and littering by using the new App or by phoning the complaints line.
Local authorities urge the public to make use of the App and to also continue using the National Environmental Complaints Line as their help is critical in assisting to tackle the minority of society who recklessly endanger the environment through inappropriate and illegal activities.
What can you report using the App?
- Waste - dumping and littering
- Air - backyard burning / odour / spray painters
- Noise - commercial premises / small factory
- Water - fish kill or pollution
What happens to my complaints?
When you notice environmental pollution of some kind and make a submission it will be directed to the relevant local authority for a response. You will see your submission on the Fix Your Street website.
The Fix Your Street website is used by all local authorities for tracking many issues – including environmental matters and you should see a response to your submission there within a short time.
You will be asked for contact details, as the local authority may wish to contact you for further details. It is important to remember to include any information that could help the local authority in finding the culprit – for example, this might include a car registration number.
It is important to remember that members of the public can also contact their local Council directly with their complaints. However, the App and the FixYourStreet website means that your submission will be directly passed on to the relevant authorities for follow up.
Further information on How to make an environmental complaint