IRELAND: Presenting the Rediscovery Centre: the Irish National Centre for the Circular Economy

By Laura Niessen, Rediscovery Centre

The Rediscovery Centre is a creative space connecting people, ideas and resources to support low carbon living. We bring together the skills and expertise of artists, scientists, designers and craftsmen united in a common purpose of sustainability through resource efficiency and reuse. As the Irish National Centre for the Circular Economy, the Rediscovery Centre supports the development of a circular economy and advocates for a more resilient, equitable society.

The Centre is situated in a state-of-the-art ecological building. The Ballymun Boiler House was refurbished through the WISER LIFE project (www.wiserlife.eu) and demonstrates best practice building design, construction and operation. It also defines the building and environs as an educational tool to inspire, inform and lead positive behavioural change with respect to resource management and efficiency.

The Rediscovery Centre hosts a wide array of activities. Environmental education for sustainable development and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) is provided to students of all ages and varying needs. Research programmes investigate reuse and circular economy opportunities in Ireland and policy work aims to promote sustainable consumption, climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals. The Centre hosts four reuse social enterprises Rediscover Fashion, Rediscover Furniture, Rediscover Paint and Rediscover Cycling. All businesses use discarded materials which are repaired and upcycled to new products. These creations as well as products from over 40 established and emerging Irish eco-designers are available in the Centre’s Ecostore.

All Rediscovery Centre activities support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Education workshops promote sustainable development, global citizenship and sustainable lifestyle with children and adults alike (SDG 4). We also input to the development of the national school curriculum ensuring the inclusion of sustainability elements. Through advocating and teaching about the circular economy and sustainable living, we drive sustainable consumption. Through our social enterprises we enable youth and others distanced from the workplace to access education and training through our work-based skills training programmes: supporting the provision of decent work and economic growth (SDG 8).

As the National Centre for the Circular Economy, a key focus of our work is underpinned by SDG 12: responsible consumption and production. We work towards the fulfilment of several targets under SDG 12. These include education and outreach to reduce the consumption of resources, advocating against food waste, promoting circular practices (waste prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse), and educating about global citizenship and sustainable development. Finally, our work relating to SDG 13: Climate Action, is delivered through education programmes and advocacy work we undertake to influence the development of national and local climate policy.

In order to support the implementation of the SDGs in Ireland, the Rediscovery Centre actively participates in Coalition 2030, the Irish NGO coalition for the SDGs. We also host events that link to the broader SDG agenda for example, this year we hosted the National Circular Fashion Conference on 26th April, 2019. This highly successful conference facilitated conversations with key practitioners within the circular fashion scene and examined the environmental, social, and economic impact of fashion industry.

For further information about our work on the circular economy and the Sustainable Development Goals, visit our website (www.rediscoverycentre.ie) or email info@rediscoverycentre.ie.

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