CRNI was covered in the Independent Weekly Magazine on 5th January 2019. For the full article, click here.
Under the heading “Greener Consumption” the article read:
The circular economy is the latest buzzword in relation to sustainability and it means a move away from a linear economy, with its ‘take-make-dispose’ ethos. In a circular economy, the goal is to create products that can be repaired, recycled and reused. It is being championed by the EU, which launched its circular economy package in 2018.
Claire Downey is the executive of Community Reuse Network Ireland, (CRNI) the all-Ireland representative body for community-based reuse, recycling and waste prevention organisations. She states that less than 5pc of what we throw away is reused.
“Reuse is not in people’s minds when they go to get new things. It’s definitely not in the psyche when it comes to things like fast fashion, and a lot of young people – although they do want to save the world as far as we understand – don’t necessarily connect when they go out to buy an outfit for one night and throw it away, that this has serious impacts and that there are other alternatives,” she says.
Each October CRNI runs a Reuse Month campaign (reusemonth.ie) to show people how and what they can repurpose around their house and in the workplace, and to try and inspire them to do more. Suggestions include borrowing rarely used items, whether that’s cookbooks or gardening implements from a neighbour; finding things for free on websites such as FreeTrade (freetradeireland.ie), and upcycling.
A new directory called Repair My Stuff (repairmystuff.ie) meanwhile shows where people can get anything fixed near them, from clothes to musical instruments, computers and large appliances.
Downey says that reusing can require some effort. “If you have it in mind that you really want a red jacket with gold buttons and a particular shape, it’s hard to find that second hand. It means we have to think a bit differently about what we want, and appreciate that charity shops have really unique things and they can be exciting in their own way.
“Obviously it saves a huge amount of money if you do shop in charity shops or exchange things and you can get so many things for free. It’s unbelievable what’s up on Free Trade and other exchanges, especially children’s clothes.”
While charity shops are in most communities around the country, Downey says that Ireland does not have a very good repair structure in place for items like electrical and white goods. “We need to try and grow that, so we need to see people push for it, as they have done for plastic packaging.”