Michelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)
Volunteers bid to 'recycle the unrecyclables' at Eco Christmas Fair
An East Antrim environmental group is to launch a recycling initiative for ‘unrecyclables’ at an ‘eco’ Christmas fair planned for Ballyclare in November.
At the event, there will be a launch of a TerraCycle initiative which enables recycling of materials which are not suitable for recycling at council facilities and would otherwise be destined for landfills.
This includes items such as crisp packets, sweet packets, baby food pouches, coffee capsules, pens and toothbrushes.
In return TerraCycle donates money to the collector’s chosen charity.
The initiative is being organised in Ballyclare by the County Antrim Countryside Custodians.
Other activities being planned include re-gifting, sale of secondhand Christmas decorations and a Christmas jumper swap shop. All items will be donated as part of recycling promotion.
The organisers have requested provision of a recycling bin from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and free use of Ballyclare Town Hall which was approved at a meeting of the council’s Community Planning Committee on Monday evening.
Ballyclare Ulster Unionist Councillor Vera McWilliam described the event as “very unique”.
“It is certainly a first for Ballyclare. I look forward to seeing what it is going to be like,” she said.
Ballyclare Independent Cllr Michael Stewart said that the County Antrim Countryside Custodians, a litter picking group, has 1,200 members.
“So far, this year, they have collected 4,000 bags of litter. I think it is great to see them in Ballyclare. I look forward to seeing to seeing the fair in Ballyclare.”
In a statement after the meeting, he added: “I am absolutely delighted that the County Antrim Countryside Custodians have chosen to host the borough’s first ever Eco Christmas Fair in Ballyclare.
“The development of this environmental awareness group has been truly remarkable since it was first established in 2019 and reflects a growing public consciousness about environmental issues and a genuine desire to embrace lifestyle changes and take positive action to make a difference in local communities.
“This year alone, the group, which now has over 1,200 members, has lifted almost 4,000 bags of litter from around towns and villages all over the borough as well as sharing practical advice and information on a range of environmental issues through social media and local community events.
“I look forward to welcoming the Custodians’ Christmas Fair to Ballyclare for what promises to be a unique opportunity for everyone to take a greener approach to gift shopping while discovering the many ways we can all enjoy a very special Christmas this year that’s even kinder to our environment.”
The ‘eco’ Christmas fair will be held in Ballyclare Town Hall on November 6.