This video is taken from the EcoEye series, and was originally broadcast on RTE in 2009. Produced by Earth Horizon in association with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), EcoEye is among Ireland’s most popular television programmes, bringing news and updates on a range of environmental issues to a weekly audience of up to 400,000.
For further details on the EPA and its role in protecting Ireland’s environment, see
For an accessible version of this video, and associated educational resources for second level teachers, see:
you bought something in the shops today you're gonna go home and you're gonna feel good for a while but then you'll feel depressed again because you're a consumer and you have no soul you're a consumer and you have no so well we may enjoy the banter are not of a comedian like Dave like Savage but there's no doubt that the recent increases in domestic consumption has put our environment under huge pressure we may not be doing too well at football but there's one European league table that were consistently tom winter popping 705 kilograms of waste per head per annum Ireland has the dubious distinction of being the highest producers of waste in Europe per capita Arlen consumes more per year than any other European country though recycling centers are improving we need many more of them and greater emphasis must be put on prevention reduction reuse and repair together with Civic amenity centers like this we also have our green household bins which are sent to recycling centers for searching the ever-increasing potential of recyclables is obviously plastic is transformed into a range of products from toothbrushes to police jackets aluminium and tin cans get made into new cans saving a massive amount of the energy it takes to make them from scratch scrap metal becomes things like pockets and tools when it's exported to the UK this is the quality of clothes being discarded in Ireland today some of it goes to making new materials some of the goes straight to the developing world reusable materials can be safely extracted from toxic products like old batteries by recycling glass in centers like rehab in Bali Mount we save huge amounts of energy and co2 compared to making new glands the yearly basis we would handle in the region of 60,000 tons of glass who send it through a series of machines that sort screen crush and remove all the contamination that would normally be in that glass one of the stages that we send the glass true is true a series of machines known as KSP units and what they do is we actually utilize lasers to identify anything in the glass stream that isn't glass and ideally what we're trying to catch our pieces of stone pieces of ceramic and pieces of metal for every ton of glass that we sent our customers we're saving them 30 gallons of oil so on a yearly basis were recycling 60,000 tons it will give you some idea of the vast amount of energy that is saved by recycling the products as opposed to mining it directly from the ground plant such as rehab in Bali Mount are the exception rather than the rule in a country that lacks some of the most basic recycling industries over the last 10 years we've become increasingly adept at recycling but 85% of our recyclables go abroad to be processed these include paper and card tin and aluminium plastics and glass now that we've established a culture of sorting we need to move on to the next stage investing in new enterprises to convert most of our sorted waste into new products here in Ireland especially at the moment is that and most of our recyclables are sent abroad we have a small recycling industry here we have some facilities we have people who make aggregates out of glass bottles we have people who make plastic bags out of waste plastics so we have some some recycling industry here for some of the larger reprocessing of materials they are sent abroad and and clean segregated recyclables are actually a valuable commodity and they're freely traded on the world market long distance shipping of recyclables emits huge amounts of co2 that could be avoided if these resources were kept here in Ireland but our economy of scale is too small to compete in this open world market we need to incentivize new enterprises that will keep these valuable resources here a way to fund this would be by placing an environmental levy and all disposable products take this heavy weekend newspaper we might want the newspaper and maybe the magazine on the sports section but we really want the supplements with their flimsily disguised advertising material that goes with them why should we spend public money dealing with the mountains of waste news friendship that results as little as 5 cent per paper would pay for the complete recycling of all our newspapers here in Ireland other major recyclables could be treated in the same way the levies would be based on the financial incentive needed to set up and maintain new Irish recycling plants this would also prove a welcome boost for the local economy the government's have established a market development group whose job it is is to develop markets in Ireland for recyclables and encourage companies to set up and recycle goods in Ireland so there is some work being done on levies would stimulate indigenous recycling industries and encourage manufacturers to reduce packaging it would also nurture a reuse and repair culture and help replace the disposable consumerism that is our current obsession buying things you don't need things we need two five things to reassure ourselves that we are alive but we really don't need the things that we buy you just got big empty holes in our inner chakras those holes used to be filled with religion but now we don't believe in God anymore consumerism is the new religion