Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS SPECIAL -

LAST year, the Par­ents As­so­ci­a­tion of Grange­con NS chal­lenged them­selves to be­come a ‘zero waste’ or­gan­i­sa­tion as far as pos­si­ble.

This am­bi­tion was the spark for Go Greener with Grange­con which aims to en­cour­age the vil­lage and the com­mu­nity to lower its eco­log­i­cal foot­print.

‘We take a pos­i­tive ap­proach that is so­lu­tion-based. Part of this has been high­light­ing small, sim­ple changes to go greener,’ said Jen­nifer Page, of Go Greener with Grange­con.

The group may be small, but it has al­ready achieved a num­ber of suc­cesses. These in­clude a part­ner­ship with a lo­cal sign­maker to cre­ate ‘no junk mail’ stick­ers for homes in the vil­lage. They are also work­ing with lo­cal pub­li­cans to re­cy­cle crisp pack­ets and bot­tle caps. Tips and tricks to re­duce waste are shared reg­u­larly on the group’s so­cial me­dia chan­nels.

‘Among our ini­tia­tives, we have a party pack that peo­ple can bor­row- for a small do­na­tion to cover costs- for chil­dren’s birth­day par­ties. It con­tains re-us­able plates and homemade bunting. It’s been re­ally suc­cess­ful and has helped to re­duce the vol­ume of sin­gle-use plas­tics go­ing to land­fill,’ said Jen­nifer.

Go Greener with Grange­con launched a ‘give and take’ box in the vil­lage re­cently to en­cour­age peo­ple to re­duce their food waste. Any­one with ex­cess fruit from trees in their gar­dens can leave any­thing spare in the box for oth­ers to take.

The group also signed up with the Spark Change Chal­lenge, a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Trin­ity Col­lege Dublin and The Wheel to en­cour­age peo­ple to en­ter new or es­tab­lished projects that in­spire their com­mu­ni­ties to be­come more en­vi­ron­men­tally, eco­nom­i­cally and/ or so­cially sus­tain­able, in line with the UN’s 17 Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals for 2030.

Their hard work has earned Go Greener with Grange­con a place on the short­list for two prizes in the in­au­gu­ral Na­tional Spark Change Sus­tain­abil­ity Awards.

A key em­pha­sis of Go Green with Grange­con is to mea­sure the im­pact of their ini­tia­tives. As part of this, a sur­vey was dis­trib­uted to over 200 house­holds in the vil­lage ear­lier in the year with the aim of learn­ing more about the eco­log­i­cal foot­print of the com­mu­nity. There are plans to or­gan­ise a fo­cus group within the com­mu­nity to dis­cuss the sur­vey re­sults.

‘I hope it will con­tinue to evolve. We’re trying to en­cour­age change with­out putting too much pres­sure on any­one,’ said Jen­nifer.

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