In celebration of European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR), NIRN launched an exclusive podcast series to highlight the spirit of environmental action in Northern Ireland, with a key focus on this year’s theme: Packaging.

Heidi Redmond spoke to us about the Department of Economy Draft Circular Economy Strategy and how packaging was one of  eight key themes assessed. With significant annual spending on packaging, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation sees a $10 billion opportunity in achieving just a 20% increase in packaging reusability. The conversation highlighted the importance of collecting high-quality used packaging, emphasising that businesses in Northern Ireland are already making strides in recycling and using recycled materials in manufacturing.

Rachael Hook from the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs (DAERA) talked us through the future of waste in Northern Ireland, exploring initiatives like the Deposit Return Scheme and Extended Producer Responsibility.

Declan Donnelly detailed Causeway Coast and Glens’ ‘LiveSmart’ council campaign, emphasizing community-driven change through sub-campaigns like Plastic Smart and Cup Smart.

Chris Gourley from Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful (KNIB) offered insights into KNIB’s multifaceted approach to combating litter across various sectors and how policy needs to be tightened to truly tackle litter.

Jacquie Loughrey from Hive Cancer Support brought a unique perspective, uncovering the linkages between plastic, health risks, and community collaboration.

Professor Ian Montomery from Ulster University, unveiled the “new zero challenge” inspiring students and showcasing the university’s commitment to environmental awareness and spoke to us about the innovative Rathlin Island project.

Each episode showcased the dedication of individuals, organisations, and communities in Northern Ireland, collectively steering the region toward a more sustainable future.

As NIRN reflects on its participation in EWWR, we’re excited to have shared these inspiring stories of environmental commitment.


Stay tuned for more initiatives as we continue our environmental journey in Northern Ireland!