The Circular Economy Academy is a free mentoring and support programme that 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 is an economic system aimed at minimising waste at all stages of the economic cycle and making the most of our resources by keeping them in circulation for longer. This approach maximises the value of resources and is in contrast to the traditional linear economy, which has a ‘take, make, dispose’ model of production.
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 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 furniture reuse initiatives.
Each service is tailor-made to suit the needs of the participating organisation. The Circular Economy Academy also offers incubation and regional clinics. The first clinic took place at the Rediscovery Centre in Dublin on the 20th of July and resulted in a number of new Academy members. Upcoming clinics will take place in Cork (Sept. 26th), Limerick (Oct. 8th), and Galway (Oct 22nd). Several more clinics to be held throughout the country will be announced in the the new year.
If you are interested in participating in the Academy or would like to learn more about the services offered, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The aim of the Circular Economy Academy is to facilitate Ireland’s transition to the Circular Economy through Collaboration, Inspiration & Education.
The Academy will enable a network of circular economy businesses delivering services nationwide, maximising material reuse and preventing waste production. All Academy participants take part in an Annual Circular Economy showcase which takes place in July each year in Dublin.
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.
Case study: Roscommon Women’s Network
In March 2019, following an inspirational visit to the Rediscovery Centre in Dublin, Roscommon Women’s Network established a textile upcycling training and social enterprise pilot project which would repurpose unsold textiles from the Roscommon Women’s Network Charity Shop. The training of 10 volunteers for one afternoon over 8 weeks consisted of sewing and cutting techniques, pattern and product design, knowledge of different types of textiles and their uses as well as raising awareness of the benefits of fashion repair/reuse to the economy and environment. RWN were delighted with the mentoring and advice offered by the Rediscovery Centre through its Chief Executive Dr Sarah Miller and Rediscover Fashion designer Carrie Ann Moran during the pilot project process.
An order for upcycled vegetable bags was placed by a local Farmers Market at the beginning of the project so a vegetable bag became one of two designs that the group would focus on making as well as one-off design aprons primarily made from denim to tackle the large amounts of unsold denim in the RWN Charity Shop. With the pilot project successfully coming to an end, and a new group of trainees due to begin in September, the current participants are continuing to meet up as an informal upcycling club to make items for the ‘CycleUp’ brand in support of this RWN project.
Nora Fahy, Project Manager at Roscommon Women’s Network says: “It was great to work with RDC on this pilot project as it was RDC who first inspired us to look at our social and community work through the environment protection lens. They believed in us, shared experiences with us and supported us to make the production of high quality upcycled goods a reality, a success and a joy for all involved.”