Minister of State with special responsibility for the Circular Economy and Communications, Ossian Smyth TD, has announced funding of €490,000 for 10 projects across Ireland under the first Circular Economy Innovation Grant Scheme (CEIGS).

Creating a ‘circular economy’ is part of the move towards a more sustainable future, with a focus on reducing and eliminating waste and keeping resources in use for as long as possible. The CEIGS will help communities to make this transition.

Funding under this round of the CEIGS was initially set at €250,000. However, due to the overall quality of the successful applicants, and in line with the Department’s commitment to supporting the circular economy, Minster of State Smyth secured an additional €240,000 in funding. This has resulted in the CEIGS being able to support projects across the whole spectrum of the circular economy, from green construction to digital platforms for re-use.

Congratulating the successful applicants, Minister of State Smyth said:

The scale of the challenge to become circular requires change at every level of our society. I am delighted to be able to support these projects which have been proposed from people active in making and advocating change. We can learn so much from doing. I look forward to realizing the ambition of these projects and building further on their success in the coming years of this scheme.

The selected projects will support the drive to develop the circular economy in areas such as sustainable fashion, marine plastics, reusable food packaging and construction. They are: 

•                    AM Acoustic Materials

•                    Community Resources Network Ireland

•                    Cork Environmental Forum

•                    Everlend Ltd

•                    GIY Ireland

•                    Irish Green Building Council

•                    Marine Applications Ltd T/A Verifact

•                    Novelplast Teoranta

•                    PACE Organisation

•                    Thriftify Technologies Ltd

Changing people’s outlook

Welcoming the announcement, a spokesperson for CRNI (Community Resources Network Ireland) – one of the successful applicants – said:

In order to become a more circular society we need to build consumer confidence in second-hand goods and services.  A quality mark, like ReMark, changes how people view second-hand goods and services, driving demand for them and reducing the carbon impact of everyday purchases.CRNI is thrilled to be awarded CEIGS funding. This will enable us to prepare our ReMark quality mark for national roll-out, which we believe can be a game changer in Ireland’s circular economy transition.The funding will be used to support our members and private sector actors to access and pilot this enhanced quality mark. This will help to build consumer confidence in the quality and safety of second-hand goods, by supporting reuse organisations to improve internal processes and customer service.

Radical change

The scheme was launched in April of this year to provide support for projects that work in the circular economy space – to raise awareness of the need to make the transition. By funding ambitious projects and enterprises, this grant scheme showcases examples of best practice. For now, funding offers are conditional on the satisfaction of due diligence and other requirements. However, those that make it through to a final award can expect to get their projects underway this autumn.

This grant scheme complements other circular economy work being progressed under Minister of State Smyth. Following a public consultation this spring, Ireland’s first All of Government Circular Economy Strategy is expected to be published in September, alongside the Circular Economy Bill.

The new legislation will involve radical change to production and consumption, limiting single-use products and clamping down on littering and dumping, among other measures. The Bill will implement many of the actions in the Government’s Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy and will put the forthcoming Circular Economy Strategy on a statutory footing.