Between 1993 and 2007, the Irish Economy (once known as the Celtic Tiger) was very strong and prosperous. Today, however, we are experiencing a great recession following an economic crisis in 2008, when Ireland’s property bubble bursted and private banks and the government finance sectors collapsed. According to the European Economic and Social Committee Workers Group, austerity and anti-crisis measures are synonymous words that have been implemented in Ireland since 2008.
According to the Economic Social Research Institute, in a paper entitled “The Impact of Anti-Crisis Measures and the Social Ad Employment Situation: Ireland” the Irish economy has seen dramatic growth in government indebtedness over the last four years and having been a government with the lowest indebtedness in 2007, has become one of the more heavily indebted economies. As a result of this financial crisis, people have been forced to re-think their spending and to re-use old items, that they previously would have discarded.
Up-cycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value. Jackie Cogan and Connie O’Kennedy are partners in The Paint Pot furniture store located on the Saint Patrick’s quay in Cork City. Their stores’ motto is bringing new life to old things.
They currently run workshops on up-cycling, where people can learn four techniques for re-painting old furniture and are given an old chair to up-cycle. Cogan says that they collect old furniture from auctions, second hand shops and even skips. They have also collected old school desks from Saint Al’s in Cork, which they are currently up-cycling. They are repainting them and giving them a fresh look with decoupage.
There are websites that facilitate reuse of household and commercial items such as SMILE Resource Exchange, Freetrade Ireland and Opportunity Box on the Upcycle Movement. Freetrade Ireland was launch nationwide in July 2010 after four successful years in Dublin and it’s estimated that users of the website save up to 1,000,000 euros by using the Department of Environment Community and Local Government funded website to promote the reuse of household and commercial items throughout Ireland. There is also a free mobile app and a facebook page for Freetrade Ireland.
What is your city doing in regards to up-cycling? What stores in your city are up-cycling?
Credit: Images by Olivia Dolan. Data linked to sources.