EPA invites students to explore their impact on the environment in The Story of Your Stuff 2019 competition

Date released: Jan 16 2019

“The EPA is calling on second-level students, who are influential consumers and will be the decision-makers of tomorrow, to use their unique artistic talents and inspire others to make low carbon and environmentally conscious consumption choices.  We have a very high quality environment in Ireland. How we choose to live affects the air we breathe, the water we drink and swim in, and the beauty spots such as mountains we walk in. It is through our consumption decisions – the stuff we buy and how it is used – that these impacts are sharply revealed.”

Dr Jonathan Derham, EPA Programme Manager was speaking at the launch of the EPA’s annual nationwide competition for secondary school students, The Story of Your Stuff

The EPA is encouraging second-level students to creatively trace the life cycle of their everyday items and tell its story. The call comes as part of the EPA’s The Story of Your Stuff 2019 competition, which was launched today. 

The competition inspires students to use their artistic talents to visually tell the story of any item they use – from mobile phones to deodorants or a hairbrush.  It raises awareness of where an item comes from, its carbon footprint, what happens to it when it is used and eventually disposed of, and what impact this has on all aspects of our environment. Core information on challenges to our environment is available to entrants through the EPA’s irelandsenvironment.ie web resource. 

Colette Ryan, the EPA lead for The Story of Your Stuff, said:

The Story of Your Stuff competition aims to get young people to think and talk about their environment and to understand where their ‘stuff’ comes from and its environmental burden. As people become more aware of the connectivity between the quality of our environment and how we consume they then become more discerning and sustainable consumers.    

“The decisions we make on a daily basis – what to eat, what to wear, how to travel, how to dispose of items – directly affect our well-being, the people around us, and the environment.”

Students are invited to use a visual creative medium of their choice, including video, animation, drawings and photography, to tell the story of their chosen item, considering the entirety of its life cycle.

Colette Ryan said,

“The quality of the entries each year is fantastic and a testament to the wonderful students who take the time to explore the story of their stuff, and to the teachers who guide them.  We look forward to seeing the projects from this year’s entrants.”

The winner of The Story of Your Stuff will receive €500 for themselves and €500 for their school. Competition guidelines and tips are available online. The deadline for entries is Friday, 08 March 2019.

Last year’s competition was won by Amber Pomeranz and Lauren Lehane from Presentation Secondary School, Milltown, Killarney, Co Kerry, who made a video on the story of chewing gum.

When researching their project, entrants are encouraged to use the EPA’s website, particularly the Ireland’s Environment section. It offers easily accessible information about your local environment, environmental indicators, reports and research on topics such as climate change, biodiversity and waste management.


Further information:

  • Louise Archbold / Stephen Moloney, DHR Communications, 01-4200580 / 087-2601145 / 087-7858522
  • Niamh Hatchell / Annette Cahalane: EPA Media Relations Office, 053 9170770 (24 hours) or media@epa.ie

Note to Editors:

  • Spokespersons from the EPA are available on request.
  • Photographer Marc O’Sullivan will issue photos from the launch photocall to photodesks this afternoon.
  • An information video for The Story of Your Stuff 2019 is available to watch now

About The Story of Your Stuff:
The Story of Your Stuff is a nationwide competition for secondary school students run by the EPA. The competition challenges students to investigate the life cycle of their everyday ‘stuff’ through a creative medium, considering the entirety of the item’s life cycle. The EPA’s Ireland’s Environment web resource has a range of resources to assist students’ research. Visit http://www.thestoryofyourstuff.ie/ for competition guidelines and tips, and follow The Story of Your Stuff on Instagram @storyofyourstuff