Cut out the rubbish for Lent

Posted on: 9th March, 2018

Category: Trash Talk

Contributor: Allison Roberts

Allison Roberts of Exploding Tree is documenting her family’s self-imposed challenge to create zero rubbish for a whole year. If you would like to join Allison in her quest, or suggest some tips to help her achieve it, you will find her blog at

The idea of giving up rubbish, giving up ‘making’ rubbish that is, has been sitting heavy inside me for a long time. This year there has already been so many inspiring stories in this paper about people becoming trash-conscious, that I think the time is right for me* (*us that is, since my family will hardly get away without being involved). So, we’re on a mission to give up rubbish for a year –from this Lent to next.

I know all about Lent, I deal in chocolate. I think anyone who is able to withstand a temptation for 40 days has a superpower, and I look on in awe. I can’t seem to keep any kind of practice going for more than a few weeks; I have tried regular journaling, yoga and meditation; I have given up meat, caffeine, white sugar, red wine and gluten; I’ve attempted rubbish before too. All have made me feel healthier, but are resolutions that have failed once I’ve been offered a cupcake, a morning lie-in or a roadside packet of crisps.

That’s why I’m doing this challenge in a public forum; this way I’ll be more accountable and I’ll hopefully get to hear some of your stories to keep my motivation up. I’ll also be able to use this column as a means to explain to and motivate my wider family when they come to visit. I’ve thought this master plan through!

For some reason one of the only things I feel consistently committed to is the thrill of low-impact living – I was essentially raised at Canada’s largest amusement park, my dad being the head plumber, so I need thrills to function. I get similar ‘wah-hooooo!’ moments climbing trees, harvesting beans and orchestrating lift-shares. Who knows why we are driven by the things we are? Luckily this slight fixation has some great benefits attached – lots of cycling and healthy eating are a given – so the fact that I can’t seem to stick anything else out doesn’t seem to do me too much harm.

My self-imposed rules of the game:

• Don’t create rubbish. Any rubbish that I make (or have been gifted), I will document and keep for the duration of the year.

• Rubbish in this project is defined as anything that cannot be easily composted, cleanly burnt or widely recycled.

• Minimise recyclables (giving up wine completely is too much!). Any glass/aluminium/tetra-paks shall be cleaned and kept in the shed for the duration of the project

If you think this sounds like an interesting challenge why don’t you join me? Just for Lent or for the whole year! I’m also going to put these articles up, along with other information and musings, on a blog at I hope some of you will share your stories and knowledge on there too. Anyone who wants to join in for the full year will be rewarded with chocolate!

Along the way I hope to meet some local heroes who know much more than I about why we shouldn’t make so much rubbish. I read recently that by 2050 scientists are expecting there to be more plastic than fish in the ocean. If you are knowledgable about such things, please share that knowledge with me.

I look forward to documenting my successes and struggles over the next 12 months and also finding some local businesses that are able to help us to succeed.

As I write this I can already feel temptations piling up; that familiar urge to give up before I start. However, I have been thinking about this for so long now that I know in my gut the time is right. I’ll give it all I’ve got and who knows, I might even be able to cut the rubbish out for good!

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This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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20th February, 2018  ·  

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17th February, 2018  ·  

Check out this new upbeat indie-folk track Edges, released today from Inni-K with a video by Myles O'Reilly. Inni-K will be performing at Levis’, Ballydehob on Saturday 24th February, with support from Sam Clague.
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16th February, 2018  ·  

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