The Circular Visits The Rediscovery Centre

Gillian Chapman

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As global warming becomes more and more apparent, there are more initiatives and incentives than ever encouraging people to get involved in recycling. Recycling is the process in which used materials are processed and changed in order to be used for a new purpose. The Rediscovery Centre, in Ballymun, was set up during the regeneration of the north Dublin area to facilitate the creative development of a new and more sustainable way to live.

Speaking to the Circular, education administration team intern at The Rediscovery Centre, Ciara Margolis explained “The Rediscovery Centre is a creative space connecting people, ideas and resources. 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. The Rediscovery Centre supports the development of the circular economy and advocates for a more resilient, equitable society. Our main objective is to reuse, reduce, recycle and encourage others to do so as well. Instead of sending waste to landfills and ruining our landscape and environment we aim to help create an environmentally efficient Ireland where people from a young age learn to up-cycle old products instead of throwing them out. “

A rainwater harvester in The Rediscovery Centre. Photo Credit: Ciara Margolis
A rainwater harvester in The Rediscovery Centre. Photo Credit: Ciara Margolis

Another important aspect of the centre is to provide education and training in the area of Ballymun.  The centre currently has 23 permanent staff as well as a constant stream of interns that come from all over the world.  The centre runs four social enterprises, The Circular asked Ciara about the different enterprises and the day-to-day workings of the centre  “On a day to day basis all 4 workshops Rediscover Furniture, Rediscover Fashion, Rediscover Paint and Rediscover Cycling are being worked on by our dedicated and talented staff/craftsmen in order to up-cycle waste and unwanted materials into new products that can be sold in our eco store (in order to fund our enterprise). There is always a shop assistant in our eco store ready to sell items as diverse as kids bikes to wine bottle holders to ties to handmade soaps as well as to answer enquirers about the centre. On top of this our education team are consistently providing a variety of exciting and interactive workshops that are based on hands-on inquiry and experiential learning to kids from all over Ireland. Our programme of educational workshops for primary, secondary, and third level covers a wide variety of environmental and STEM topics including waste, engineering, sustainable design, water, science etc.”

The gardens of The Rediscovery Centre. Photo Credit: Ciara Margolis
The gardens of The Rediscovery Centre. Photo Credit: Ciara Margolis

The Rediscovery Centre runs from the Boiler House in Ballymun. In 2011, The Rediscovery Centre, Dublin City Council and the European Commission joined forces to save the building from demolition. They wished for the building to be regenerated and used for a new purpose. In December 2016 it was unveiled at the new home of The Rediscovery Centre.

As well as their day to day work, the centre runs events all year round for “at the moment we are offering an Easter camp (with Easter themed arts and crafts, Easter games, Egg science, Explore nature in springtime and Egg hunt challenge), a 5 week furniture upcycling course, an introduction to home bike maintenance course, an introduction to sewing and creative fashion up-cycling course and a creative waste reuse workshop among others. “

As well as these events, on the 23rd March 2018, The Rediscovery Centre held the Designs for Life: Circular Economy in Action. This event was initiated by the organisation to bring together policymakers, thought leaders and innovators from across Europe to show how policy and action are working to establish circular principles for innovation and economic development. The event was well attended by a number of key spokespeople including Jim Gannon, Chief Executive Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, Aideen O’Hora, Director of Sustainable Business at Sustainable Nation and Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland. 

The Rediscovery Centre is providing an important service by incorporating the move towards a better environment with training and employment. For more information on the work they do and how you can get involved, visit www.rediscoverycentre .ie, like their Facebook page or look up their YouTube channel.

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Gillian Chapman