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29 May 2024
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On January 24th, Bord na Móna Recycling launched the Primary Schools Upcycling Competition. Students were encouraged to repurpose discarded materials into innovative and functional creations, using materials that would typically be considered waste or discarded items.

We are excited to announce Gaelscoil Chaladh an Treoigh, Limerick as the winner of the Primary Schools Upcycling Competition for their creative, resourceful and impactful entry.

Pupils from this project will receive guided tours of Bord na Móna’s Lough Boora Discovery Park as well as Mountlucas Wind Farm in Offaly, with a prize of €5000 being awarded to Gaelscoil Chaladh an Treoigh.

In total over 500 incredible entries were received in the competition, making the selection of an overall winner a difficult task. However, the judges were very impressed by the pupils of Gaelscoil Chaladh an Treoigh who sought to enhance and protect their school environment from the potential negative impacts of playground activities. The pupils demonstrated excellent lateral thinking by upcycling materials, rendering them with informative art-work and ultimately, constructing & delivering a durable solution to a real-world problem.

Prior to entry into Comórtas Uaschúrsála do Scoileanna the Green School Committee and Student Council of Gaelscoil Chaladh an Treoigh, comprised of 32 students from 2nd to 6th class, with the help of a local social enterprise group, sowed 300 native trees around their playground to encouraged their pupils to be active in a biodiversity project. 

In a short space of time, a number of trees were broken by stray footballs. Upon hearing of Bord na Móna’s ‘Comórtas Uaschúrsála do Scoileanna’,  the Principal challenged the Student Council (Comhairle na nDaltaí) and Green Schools Committee (Coiste Glas) to come up with a solution to the problem using only recycled materials.

To address this, 30 old pallets were sourced locally and students from the nearby Limerick School of Art and Design illustrated the pallets with forest wildlife, birds, mini-beats and native trees. The Student Council and Green Schools Committee then painted the fencing which took up an entire classroom floor. It was lastly mounted and secured in front of the ‘Coill Bheag’ to protect their growing trees. This initiative not only solved their problem but also showcased their commitment to sustainability.

To support the competition and wider initiative interactive School Activity Packs were distributed to primary schools across Ireland. These packs aimed to promote recycling and stimulate conversations about waste management among students. In our commitment to cultural inclusivity, these resources were made available in Irish, supporting the use of our national language.

A specially designed series of live classroom presentations were also delivered to primary schools by Bord na Móna Recycling reps as we continue to take the next step in helping Ireland become more waste conscious, educating our future recyclers so they can make a big difference. 

We also had the pleasure of speaking at the ‘Education for Sustainability – The Circular Economy’ schools workshop in Tullamore where Will Finane and Lauralouise Reay delivered a workshop on recycling, environmental education and sustainability to four local schools.

Pictured are event organiser Aisling McElligott, alongside Will Finane and Lauralouise Reay from Bord na Móna and Susan Adams, Orla Sheehan and Eddie Fern from Education for Sustainability.

Bord na Móna believes in instilling a sense of environmental awareness from an early age and through these presentations and our Primary School’s Upcycling Competition we have provided schools with a platform to raise awareness about upcycling as an environmentally friendly practice, whilst fostering creativity.

We would like to thank all the schools for their participation and the creativity, effort, and passion demonstrated in the entries, and for the role which they have played in educating and inspiring their students. We look forward to your involvement in our future competition initiatives.