Litter is often the first thing that visitors notice and it gives a terrible impression if it's not collected and left to blow around with the breeze. Residential groups normally look after their own estates whilst we help maintain the public spaces between them.
Anyone can volunteer by contacting us and we will provide gloves, hi-vis vests, bags, litter pickers, and recently we used a portion of the MCC Community Grant Fund to purchase litter bag holders. These enable us to collect more easily on those windy days and it is also possible to segregate the litter to reduce landfill waste.
Covid restrictions resulted in volunteers working in isolation but we do hope to resume group collections in the coming weeks.
Rubbish Film Festival
In May 2022, Colaiste na Mi TY students were awarded Joint winners at the Rubbish Film Festival.
An initiative sponsored by Meath County Council and supported by Createschool the festival invites County Meath secondary school students to generate an idea and turn it into a short film focussing on local, national and / or national environmental issues.
Despite more public waste bins provided by the Council at our bus stops the litter problem continues and our volunteers still collect over 400 black bags of litter each year. The worst offending articles include drinks bottles/cans and food/sweet wrappers. During the height of Covid, 2020, the litter list grew to include facemasks, alcohol bottles, and discarded dog poo bags.
Recycling and Waste Separation
Whilst volunteer litter pickers try their best to segregate as they collect at present the only public segregation waste bins are located at Buvinda House, Meath County Council. Whilst the only dog waste bin was erected In 2020 in the IDA Navan along a popular walking route.
The clothes, cans, and bottle banks proved to be fly-tipping problems and were finally all fully removed from both the Athlumney Centre (2021) and also Old Johnstown Village (2020). We hope to be able to bring news if either Buvinda House, MCC, or the Johnstown Shopping Centre agree to be new hosts.
If we can help remove the need for single-use items there would be a significant reduction in litter.
In March 2022 we entered into discussions with Walterstown GFC encouraging them not to host compostable single-use cups but to join a deposit and return scheme such as 2GoCup.ie
In January 2022 we rechecked to see what outlets offered reusable coffee cups for sale and are delighted that Smith's SuperValu, Mace, Haven Studios, and Costa Coffee continue to offer these.
In 2021 Walterstown GFC banned the use of single-use plastic bottles on their grounds.
In June 2021 Taylor's of Johnstown introduced the edible coffee cup by Better-me.ie. Made from oat bran the cup is preservative-free, GM free, vegan, and if not eaten it breaks down within weeks. We noted that it does contain palm oil and although not perfect it is a step in the right direction.
Our survey carried out in 2019 identified that all our local outlets use some form of compostable or part recyclable coffee cups. This is still single-use waste that ends up as litter but more worrying is that they still go to landfills because we have no compostable waste segregation bins in public places. Takeaway services were surveyed for cup choice and invited to join the ConsciousCup.ie scheme or to initiate a purchase-deposit scheme for reusable cups.
New Reminder Signs
They should not be needed but these are appearing around Johnstown to remind owners to clean up after their pets.
In 2022 Meath County Council sprayed dog clean-up logo's on the pavements to remind owners of their duty to clean up.
In 2020 Johnstown's only dog waste bin was erected in the IDA Navan along a popular walking route.
We continue to maintain the Mitt Bag Dispensers at the 4 entrances around the Johnstown People's Park, installed in June 2018, together with many dog-fouling street signs. It is a shame that some dog owners are letting the side down by not using the public bins or taking litter home with them.
Report any incidents, including using the public bins for residential waste, immediately to Meath County Council, there may be evidence to trace the owner so it's important not to tamper with it.
The public waste bins and particularly the Athlumney Centre, Metges Road, have been sites of previous fly tipping and local residents are keeping an eye on it. The building work at the Athlumney centre 2022 should see the end of this location's issues.
Sustainable Development Goals
This project has connections with the following categories: