What we do
Rediscovery Centre is the National Centre for a Circular Economy. Since 2004, the centre has been leading Ireland’s transition to a circular economy and low-carbon, sustainable future.
Based in Europe’s first circular economy demonstration centre, Rediscovery Centre acts as an innovation hub, delivering education, providing research and enabling policy, citizen engagement and collaboration to support community action. Recognising that a just transition requires a social movement, we use our skills and expertise to ensure that all people benefit from, and can participate in, the circular economy.
Our work is supported by key strategic partners and includes a range of education and research programmes, workshops and training courses across broad disciplines, including STEM, reuse, repair, resource efficiency and sustainability. Since our launch in 2004, we’ve evolved and grown significantly. Explore how we got to where we are today.
Explore Our Work:
Our Journey so far
2004 – 2009
Built in the 1960s in response to Dublin’s housing crisis, Ballymun was created to house up to 20,000 people in state-of-the-art high-rise flats. A close-knit community developed which, although located on the edge of the city, did not have adequate services such as transport, health services, shops or social and recreational facilities and so the new town experienced serious social, economic and environmental issues. Rediscovery Centre was established in 2004 as a direct response to these challenges, supported by Ballymun Regeneration Ltd., which was one of the largest urban regeneration projects ever delivered in Europe.
During the regeneration, ongoing public consultation and community engagement identified an opportunity for people to manage their waste resources better, and to reimagine waste into something of value. The need to provide employment and training opportunities for local people was also highlighted, and so, Rediscovery Centre was born.
Recognising that for the new community to thrive, the physical transformation needed to be accompanied by social, economic and environmental development, and so Rediscovery Centre set to work. Public education to build community awareness and develop Ballymun as an environmental sustainability example was core to the centre’s approach. Pilot projects demonstrating excellence in waste prevention, reuse and recycling began, and the centre became an accredited Discover Science Centre. Social enterprises in furniture, fashion and paint were established, contributing to the development of environmentally sustainable businesses and providing training and employment opportunities.
2010 – 2015
Rediscovery Centre grew by focusing on demonstrating excellence in reuse and waste prevention through pioneering research, entrepreneurial initiatives, green skills development and environmental education. Citizen engagement soared with demand leading to their inaugural ‘Let’s Talk Science’ festival.
Rediscover Cycling was established to repair and refurbish bikes, while providing training opportunities to those distanced from the workplace. Supported by Rediscovery Centre, trainees across all four social enterprises saw high rates of progression to education or full-time employment in addition to annual increases in waste diversion from landfill. Through investment in research, networking and policy-influencing capacity, Rediscovery Centre became known as a trusted and credible voice on the circular economy.
2016 – 2021
In 2016 we reached the point in our history that brought us all under one roof. Our present-day innovation hub is in the refurbished Boiler House, which was initially developed in the 1960s for the district heating system which serviced the tower blocks in Ballymun and provided 3,000 homes with underfloor heating and hot water. When the flats were demolished in the mid 2000s, the plan was to demolish the Boiler House too. Rediscovery Centre, along with Dublin City Council and the Government of Ireland, stepped in and, with help from the European Commission’s LIFE programme, saved the Boiler House as part of the WISER (Working with Industrial Spaces to Exemplify Reuse) LIFE project.
WISER LIFE saw the old Boiler House transformed into an educational space showcasing excellence in building reuse, low-carbon construction and sustainable development. This remarkable project led to the development of the centre as Europe’s first 3D textbook, showcasing the extraordinary examples of what can be done when waste is seen as an opportunity rather than a burden. As part of the project, Rediscovery Centre was supported by the Government of Ireland and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the National Centre for the Circular Economy.
The opening of the repurposed Boiler House in 2017 was a turning point, enabling the centre to centralise operations in addition to establishing the National Centre for the Circular Economy. With additional support and strategic partnerships, the centre expanded and the team grew. The combination of the bigger team and the new centre significantly increased our impact and by 2021 in-person and online environmental education, training and events, were engaging with over 75,000 people. We’ve been growing ever since.
Recognising the centre’s role as an advocate in Ireland and Europe for the circular economy, the research and policy department grew further to facilitate research and analysis on priority areas. A Circular Economy Academy was launched as a free, nationwide mentoring and support programme. A nationwide education programme was also established, providing workshops throughout the country and the Paint Reuse Network was also set up further enabling communities to move towards sustainability and embrace the circular economy.
2022 – Present
Rediscovery Centre continues to demonstrate best practice in the field of circular economy, talking the talk whilst walking the walk and encouraging others to do the same. Our social enterprises have continued to grow in scale and scope, delivering services, training and high-quality upcycled goods to the local community and beyond.
If you would like to learn more about what we do, how we got here, and the next exciting steps in our journey, drop in to the Boiler House. Hear about our history from our friendly and experienced tour guides, grab some lunch in the café, and have a wander in our beautiful biodiversity and kitchen gardens.
We have come a long way since 2004, but if you ask us, we are only just getting started.