Make and Take Factory 4 at Circular Fashion Conference

Circular Economy Academy

The Circular Economy Academy is a free mentoring and support programme run by the Rediscovery Centre, the National Centre for the Circular Economy. It assists social enterprises and community organisations in any part of Ireland to move their activities towards sustainability and embrace the circular economy.

The circular economy model is a perfect fit for Irish social enterprises and community organisations looking to establish a new project or expand operations whilst supporting climate action and environmental protection. It enables products to stay in circulation for longer through reuse, repair and innovation and prevents the creation of waste.

The aim of the Circular Economy Academy is to facilitate Ireland’s transition to the Circular Economy through Demonstration, Education & Collaboration. 

The Academy provides business support services built on the Rediscovery Centre’s vast knowledge of social enterprise development and design thinking concepts. The service includes advice for start-up, circular business planning, development, funding, diversification, and training. The Academy also supports organisations to replicate the Rediscovery Centre’s successful paint, furniture, fashion and bicycle reuse initiatives.

Each service is tailor-made to suit the needs of the participating organisation. The Academy is enabling a network of circular economy businesses across Ireland to deliver services whilst maximising material reuse and preventing waste production. All Academy members take part in the annual Circular Economy showcase which takes place in September.

We are delighted to announce the Circular Economy Academy is now open to applications. Please contact by the end of April 2022 if you are interested in participating. While the Academy primarily supports social enterprises and community organisations, we are also happy to hear about projects from academia, business and the public sector.

The Circular Economy Academy is delivered in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Waste Prevention Programme. The National Waste Prevention Programme is a Government of Ireland initiative, funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment.

Academy members

After an inaugural clinic in Dublin for those interested in social enterprise, reuse and circular economy projects, the Rediscovery Centre hosted several clinics throughout the country including in Cork, Limerick, and Galway. Out of these clinics, the Rediscovery Centre has signed Memorandums of Understanding with nine social enterprises and circular economy projects throughout the country to comprise the first cohort of Circular Economy Academy members.

Accessgreen (Kildare)

Accessgreen is a user-management and educational service for apartment blocks, helping to manage common resources like bin storage areas. Their monitoring and educational services help ensure that residents are correctly separating their waste, resulting in fewer recyclable materials ending up in landfill. As a member of the Circular Economy Academy, Accessgreen and the Rediscovery Centre are working on expanding the business and implementing circular services and projects.

Dr. Ajay Menon (Dublin)

Ajay Menon is a postdoctoral fellow working with BEACON, Ireland’s national Bioeconomy Research Centre. He is studying the potential of increasing the rate and yield of anaerobic digestion biomass through pulsed and moderate electric fields, with an overall aim of producing a viable circular bio-economy pathway by creating an anaerobic digestion based biorefinery from agricultural industrial biowaste. As a member of the Circular Economy Academy, Dr. Menon and the Rediscovery Centre are working on identifying waste streams while also exploring funding opportunities.

Cycle Sense (Skibbereen)

Cycle Sense is a social enterprise focused on the promotion of cycling as a sustainable form of transport and conducting cycle safety training for schools and organisations. As a member of the Circular Economy Academy, Cycle Sense is looking to initiate upcycling and waste reduction projects in Skibbereen and West Cork and work on projects to increase the uptake of cycling as a form of transportation, including a Cycle Bus and last mile delivery by bike. The Rediscovery Centre is providing assistance on expanding operations and implementing these projects.

Eco Friendly Uniforms
Eco Friendly Uniforms and Sports promote the resale and reuse of uniforms and sports equipment from local schools and sports clubs.The initiative provides a sustainable solution for unwanted clothing and sports equipment that would otherwise end up being disposed. Through our work, textile reuse is increased and items are given an extended lifespan. We do this by sorting the garments and making them available for sale in the relevant community at an affordable cost.

The pop up shop is open on Saturdays throughout the summer at The Railway Union Market in Sandymount.

EDI Centre (Longford)

The Employment, Development and Information (EDI) Centre Longford provides a range of services to meet the needs of people who are either unemployed or under-employed. The centre is focused on information provision, mediation, pre-employment supports, education and training, enterprise development, delivery of outreach services to rural areas, and the Revamp 3RStore. Revamp strives to promote the re-use of unwanted high-quality, low-cost household furniture to people living in County Longford and as part of the Circular Economy Academy, EDI Centre and Revamp are expanding their waste prevention initiatives, including adding a paint reuse programme to their business portfolio.

The Mobile Refillery
The Mobile Refillery is a refill grocery service where customers can refill their own jars/containers.  They sell pantry staples such as rice, pasta, lentils, grains, nuts and seeds.  They also sell more luxury items like chocolate covered nuts.  The purpose is to reduce the amount of single use plastic that we have in our grocery shopping by refilling directly to containers that we have in our cupboards.
The Mobile Refillery also refill items such as laundry detergents, body wash and handsoaps.  Again, the idea is to reuse containers that we already have rather than throwing them out and getting new ones.

At present The Mobile Refillery operates in Sandymount, Railway Union Food Market, on a Wednesday.  In the future The Mobile Refillery would like to have a van that would travel around the area and sell and refill, street by street.

ReThink Waste Co-Op (Galway)

ReThink Waste currently comprises specialists from GMIT, NUIG and Galway Energy Co-operative. It is a new organisation looking to explore the potential for material reuse and waste reduction in Galway. As part of the Circular Economy Academy, ReThink Waste and the Rediscovery Centre are working on establishing ReThink Waste as an independent social enterprise with capacity to initiate waste reduction and upcycling activities in Galway.

Re-Luminate (Dublin)

Re-Luminate creates bespoke lighting fixtures from recycled and reused materials. As a member of the Circular Economy Academy, Re-Luminate and the Rediscovery Centre are working on business planning and strategy, the sourcing of appropriate materials for reuse, and the expansion of operations. As part of this partnership, the EcoStore at the Rediscovery Centre is proud to carry Re-Luminate products. If you have any items that you would like converted to lighting or any ideas for a unique lighting fixture, Re-Luminate would be happy to work with you.

Roscommon Women’s Network (Roscommon)

Roscommon Women’s Network, a member of the National Collective of Community Based Women’s Networks, is a community project and charity dedicated to supporting women and families throughout County Roscommon. As a Circular Economy Academy member, Roscommon Women’s Network and the Rediscovery Centre have been piloting a textile upcycling training project. The resulting CycleUp brand strives to address the large amount of unsold textiles in the RWN Charity Shop while providing valuable skills training for women involved in Roscommon Women’s Network.

Tait House Community Enterprises (Limerick)

Tait House Community Enterprise is a social enterprise located in Southill in Limerick City. Since its establishment in 1984, Tait House’s mission has been to generate enterprise, employment and training opportunities through the provision of services for the people of Limerick. It aims to promote access and involvement of children, young people, and adults through practical experience in a wide range of education, environmental, recreational, social and economic projects focused around empowering people to improve their own lives and the environment in peaceful co-existence. As an Academy member, Tait House and the Rediscovery Centre are developing material reuse and waste reduction activities and establishing a paint reuse project.