Week 10 - Blog

Let’s stop illegal dumping, get involved with Green Aware Sligo

Let’s stop illegal dumping, get involved with Green Aware Sligo

So, we’ve reached the end of a 10 week awareness campaign, providing tips to householders in Sligo on how to reduce your waste bill, how to recycle and compost more and providing an overall understanding as to why we need your household Eircode. If you have missed out on any of the blogs and videos, visit the website www.sligococo.ie/greenaware

Throughout the Green Aware Sligo campaign, we covered how to efficiently manage all waste streams to ensure you are clear on how to correctly dispose of all of your waste.  We also highlighted the number of items that can be disposed of for free.  These include Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) i.e. anything with a plug or a battery.  Households can also avail of free recycling of any bottles or cans.  These can be disposed of at any one of the 42 bottle bank facilities provided throughout the county.

Diversion of food waste from the general waste bin is also a hugely beneficial way of ensuring you keep your waste bill to an absolute minimum.  There is also the option of using a Garden Composting Unit which is free and reduces your need to use your Food Waste Bin which has been provided to you by your Waste Collector.  Food Waste is a heavy waste, therefore it stands to reason to make sure this waste type is kept out of the general/landfill waste bin which is moving towards ‘pay by weight’.

The majority of household waste is of recyclable or food waste nature.  The bin of last resort is the general/landfill waste bin, which is also the most expensive bin to put out for collection.

Some additional tips to reduce household waste is to think smarter when doing your weekly shop.  Buy products that have less packaging.  Where possible, purchase items that come in glass packaging as opposed to plastic/cardboard because you can dispose of all glass items for free.  Never shop when hungry because you will always buy far more than you need and end up having to pay to dispose of it when it spoils.  For food items reaching their ‘best before’ date, try making one pot dinners which you freeze and use another time. 

In 2017, funding was provided to all Local Authorities under the National Anti Dumping Initiative, to carry out clean up operations of badly affected areas of illegally dumped waste.  Tullycusheen Bog in Tubbercurry was one of 4 areas selected for this clean up.  In excess of 35 tonnes of domestic waste was removed from this area.  Unfortunately, within less than a month, the area had returned to the black spot it once was.  This was hugely disappointing and cost a lot of time, money and staffing resources.  Local Authorities spend thousands on an annual basis cleaning up illegally dumped waste.  This is public money which could be better spent on far more beneficial things such as improving amenities, more social housing and better roads/infrastructure to name just a few.

The Sligo County Council Waste Management Bye-Laws have been in place in Sligo since late 2013 which places an obligation on householders to manage their waste in an environmentally sound manner.  This can be achieved in any one of the following ways:

  1. Signing up to a permitted waste collector for the provision of kerbside collection or
  2. Householders can transport their segregated waste to the local Civic Amenity Site retaining receipts as proof that this was the waste disposal route opted for, or
  3. Two households can join together and operate their waste collection as ‘bin sharing customers’ provided they have completed a Declaration Form and received authorisation from the Local Authority that they can manage their waste in this way.

In order to identify households that may not be managing their waste in accordance with our Bye-Laws, we are asking the public to work with the Local Authority in finding out who may be responsible for this behaviour so that we can stamp out illegal dumping practice once and for all.  There is no obligation on householders to provide their Eircode to their Waste Collector, but we are asking you to do so.  Provision of your Eircode allows us to exclude your household from our investigations into identifying those responsible for this behaviour. 

When Waste Collectors provide their customer Eircodes to the Local Authority, we can cross reference this list with the entire county Eircodes database and filter out all Eircodes that are not appearing on the Waste Collectors list.  Waste Enforcement Officers will then investigate what these remaining households are doing with their waste.  Fines may be issued and court appearances will take place where necessary. 

We need to protect and look after our environment for our own health and well being as well as our families, our neighbours, the wider community and for the generations to follow.  Illegal dumping also has a hugely negative impact on tourism and economic activity in the area.  We want to impress any visitors to Sligo be it for leisure breaks or for potential investors for job creation in the area. 

Together we can make a difference.  We live in a beautiful part of the country, let’s keep it that way.  We need to work together and have a united approach against illegal dumping practice.  This is, after all ‘Our County, Our Responsibility’.

Sligo County Council would like to extend our thanks to all involved in the Campaign to date – to the staff, Omedia Productions, Sligo Tidy Towns, Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, the Connacht Ulster WERLA Office and also to the general public who have given so much positive support to this project.

Finally, we want to keep the momentum created by Green Aware Sligo to make Sligo a better, cleaner and more environmentally aware place to live, work and visit. Green Aware Sligo was created during the Fleadh Cheoil in 2014 and 2015, and we all remember how proud we were of our county, the warm welcome we extended to our visitors and the wonderful response we received in return. Green Aware Sligo now has a broader meaning, it signifies our determination to improve on the quality of life we have and that we share with others. It represents our continuing efforts to clean up the county, and we can only do this with the support of us all. Stay Green Aware and let’s help Sligo lead the way for the rest of the country for the years to come.

Siobhán Gillen, Green Aware Sligo, Sligo County Council