Over 9,500 transition year students from 185 schools took part in this year’s environmental innovators programme ran by Agri Aware and BiOrbic.

A showcase for this year’s innovative ideas took place on 6 January in the Bord Bia Global Hub in Dublin.

Ríán Reilly, James Carson, Heidi Verry and Migeal Azanza from St Tiernan’s College, Crossmolina, Co Mayo, took home the winning prize.

The students received a certificate and a cash prize of €1,000 (€250 for each student) for their project ‘Binformation’.

During the competition, the judges were impressed by the simplicity and relevance of the students' communication campaign style project. The students raised an important question: do we truly understand how to recycle items properly?

Survey

Through conducting a survey, the group discovered that people were not entirely confident that they were disposing of their waste in the correct bin.

As a result, Ríán, James, Heidi and Migeal decided to make this information available to students in their schools. They created posters and used a QR code to show everyone how to bin your waste correctly.

Agri Aware director Marcus O’Halloran commended the winning group, as they demonstrated a need for a solution to a challenge that many of us thought we had conquered.

“Their project brought to light the need for more readily accessible information on the correct disposal of waste and the benefits that this can bring to the environment.

"In many ways, it was a wake-up call that that we need to be more aware of how we are disposing waste and the consequences of not doing so correctly,” says Marcus.

Background information

The Environmental Innovators transition year programme is aimed at showing students the various challenges that the global food system faces while inviting them to investigate innovative solutions.

Eight finalists were chosen to attend the event in Bord Bia and showcase their projects to a number of leading agri-food stakeholders. This gave students the opportunity to meet like-minded peers and to demonstrate what they learned over the course of the programme.

Director of BiOrbic Kevin O’Connor emphasises: “It is great to see such a diversity of fantastic ideas from young environmental innovators to address challenges as diverse as silage run-off, food use efficiency to benefit the vulnerable in society and reducing confusion about waste management.”

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Second prize was awarded to 'Tackling Silage Effluent', submitted by Katie Larrisey and Lucy MacMahon from Scoil Mhuire, Trim, Co Meath. Students Holly Cheevers and Haylie Foley from Greystones Community College, Co Wicklow, were awarded third prize for their project ‘Community Kitchens’.

For more information, visit Agriaware.ie.

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