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Home : Environment : Environment Newsletters : Autumn 2002

Autumn 2002


The Acorn

Environment Newsletter of Kildare County Council

Autumn 2002

Leixlip Residents get Green Recycling Bins

The Leixlip Recycling pilot scheme has got off to a great start. An average of 36 tonnes of waste per month is being collected and recycled from over 4000 households. This is a significant step in establishing door-to-door collections in the larger towns in Kildare. The vast majority of people are delighted with the service- once people get used to the idea of putting out the bin once every four weeks it becomes second nature.

So well done to everybody participating in the scheme. Thanks are also due to Intel, who provided some of the initial funding and actively promote the scheme in Leixlip.

Special Collections


Two separate collections for recyclable materials were held in Celbridge, Leixlip and Maynooth this year, one for bicycles and one for computers. These collections were facilitated by Intel and Kildare County Council.

The collections really caught the attention of the general public. For the bicycle collection, over 1200 bicycles were collected, and over 400 have already been sent to Africa, local people over there are also being trained in bicycle repair to make the best use of the bicycles. The computer collection yielded over five tonnes of equipment. These collections demonstrate that people are more than willing to support recycling schemes when given a chance. The Council hopes to repeat these collections around the county with the assistance of the business community.

Message from the Mayor

I would like to welcome you to this autumn edition of the Acorn. As the incoming Mayor of the County of Kildare I am delighted to see so many positive stories about the environment. We all know the importance of a clean, safe environment and the services and schemes detailed here are important examples of what can be done- from increasing the number of recycling facilities to encouraging schools

Newbridge Sports Centre gets major environmental award!

Newbridge Sports Centre was one of the first leisure facilities in Kildare to receive the prestigious white flag. Similar in status to Green Flag schools and Blue Flag beaches this international award recognises the efforts the Sports Centre has made in reducing the environmental impact of the building and related activities. The Centre has facilities for recycling plastic bottles and cardboard, and plans are afoot to install a glass and can bank also. Equally important, the Centre actively promotes recycling by the public. So well done to all concerned!


Schools Page


And then there were six!



Christy Moore, a past pupil of St. Conleths with the then Mayor of County Kildare, Councillor John O'Neill

Two more schools in Kildare received their Green Flags earlier this year- congratulations to Caragh National School and St. Conleths Infant School, Newbridge. The four other schools to receive the Green Flag are:

  • Scoil Bhride Naofa, Kildare
  • Scoil an Linbh Iosa, Prosperous
  • Scoil Eoin, Rathstewart, Athy
  • Scoil Mhuire, Rathstewart, Athy

There are now 50 schools registered for the Green-Schools programme in Kildare, so hopefully there will be more schools flying the flag in the near future.

An exciting development is the Leixlip Green-Schools scheme. The basis of this scheme is to get seven of the Leixlip schools to exchange ideas and share resources. Intel facilitate the meetings and offer support through their 'Intel Involved' community scheme. Three of the schools are presently working on their applications for the Green Flag.

Schools Battery Recycling Scheme

The competition to find the school that collected most batteries is now over. The winning school is Scoil Bhride Naofa in Kildare town. The pupils in this school have collected over a kilo of batteries each- well done to all concerned. With their prize money of €1500 the school are planning on getting a mosaic made and are also visiting the National Environment Education Centre in Knocksink Woods, Enniskerry to learn more about the natural world and maybe get some ideas for their wildlife garden.

The total weight of batteries collected in the competition is 1099 kilogrammes- that is over one tonne of batteries. When the scheme started in December 2000, 35 schools joined the scheme. This has now risen to 113 schools!

This scheme is making a big difference in the number of batteries going to landfill- so if you attend school, or know somebody who is, do your bit for the environment and recycle those batteries.

Secondary Schools Worm composting Scheme

Secondary Schools in Kildare are being given the opportunity to get a worm composting bin free from Celtic Waste! These bins differ from regular composting bins because they are designed to keep special 'super worms' in the container. These worms eat their own weight in food every day!

Apart from reducing waste (and getting free compost) having one of these bins provides an opportunity for students (particularly those doing science) to learn a lot about biology, ecology and other related areas.

If you think your school might be interested please contact Dara at the address below

A most unusual school tour!

Schools in Kildare are again invited to visit the Recycling Centre and Waste Transfer Station at Silliot Hill. As school tours go, it must rank as one of the more unusual venues, but over 1000 Kildare pupils visited Silliot Hill last year and all were very impressed. It opens both pupils and teachers eyes to the reality of waste management today. Apart from seeing the Transfer Station (where waste is collected before being sent for landfill), you can also see the impressive recycling facilities.


Contact us

The Environment Section, St. Mary's, Naas, Co. Kildare

Tel.: 045 873838, fax: 045 873848

Email: environ@kildarecoco.ie

Web: www.kildare.ie/countycouncil/Environment

Community Schemes

In order to support communities in improving their areas, the following schemes are operated by Kildare County Council:

Environment Partnership Fund

This fund is a joint County Council and Department of Environment scheme to help community and voluntary groups to undertake projects that benefit the environment. The successful applicants for 2002-2003 are as follows:


Project Title

Nature of Project

Active Age

It's Easy to Make a Difference

Raising awareness amongst older people and carers of environmentally-friendly practices

An Taisce

Young Reporters for the Environment

Networking and journalistic skills for young people on environment issues through schools

Ballycane National School

Down to Earth Wildlife Garden

Development of after-school gardening club using environmentally-friendly gardening techniques

Irish Peatlands Conservation Council

Hop To It Frog Survey

Nationwide frog survey through schools

Kilcock Integrated Waste Initiative

It's Easy to Make a Difference

Community-based environment education programme for Kilcock

Liffey Valley Alliance

Liffey Valley National Park

Awareness-raising of ecological importance of Liffey Valley

Voice of the Irish Environment

Backyard Burning

Leaflet detailing environmental harm of backyard incineration


As you can see, these projects cover a wide range of issues and deal with some environmental problems in an imaginative and practical way. The Council looks forward to seeing improvements from these initiatives over the next year.

Anti-litter Awareness Initiatives Grant

These grants, again co-funded by the Department of Environment and Local Government, are designed to raise awareness of the effects of litter and also take practical steps to reduce litter. There is a good mix of projects here, from schools to community groups as well as some projects that the Council will undertake. These projects also provide an opportunity for groups to devise 'best practice' in terms of raising litter-awareness amongst the wider community.

Ballymore Eustace National School

Reduction in levels of litter in the village, and an appreciation of the harmful effects of litter

Kilcullen Community Action

Establishment of "Litterwatch" programme for businesses

Regular community cleanups

Newbridge Tidy Towns

Extension of litter awareness signs on all bus stops in Newbridge

Offaly and Kildare Waterways

Proactive campaign to promote pride in canal environment and participate directly in cleanups

Rathangan Tidy Towns

Development of a waste reduction ethos combined with an increase in active litter controls

Kildare County Council

Increase in awareness of penalties for littering, enhanced sense of pride in local area. Achieved through regular advertising on Credit Union TV in Naas and Newbridge

Kildare County Council>

Raising awareness of the importance of litter and how concerned or otherwise people are through a litter survey specific to Kildare. Results of survey to be published in local press

Kildare County Council

Photography Competition highlighting the negative effects of litter as well as the advantages in having a litter-free environment. Photographs will be displayed around the county


Wildlife notes

Frogs and bats.

The Environment Section receives calls about many things, including such things as frogs and bats. Why would people have queries about these little critters?


Well, a number of people have identified sites where frogspawn exists, but the particular area is drying out- so the spawn will die before they become adult frogs. This is unfortunate. Over the years, some breeding grounds become wetter and some become drier. Overall, once this balances out, there will be a healthy population of frogs. The problem can arise if you get a number of dry summers, where most of these areas dry up. This can lead to a drop in the number of frogs.

Why does this matter?

Gardeners should know that frogs are one of their best friends- they eat huge amounts of slugs, snails and other pests. But they are also important for a bigger reason. Frogs are what scientists call an 'indicator species'. This simply means that if there are a lot of frogs in a particular area, it' indicates' that this particular environment is doing well. Frogs cannot live if an area is high in pollution, so if you have frogs in your garden-congratulations!


We also receive calls on the subject of bats. Usually somebody calls because they have bats in the attic of their house. The first thing to do is to dispel some myths:

Bats get tangled in hair-

Does anybody know of anyone to whom this has happened? Nor me! This myth probably arose because bats can be seen flying close overhead at dusk- all they are doing is looking for insects. In fact, the last thing the bat wants to do is get entangled in your hair!

As blind as a bat?

Bats can see, and use their vision particularly at sunrise and sunset. Like many other nocturnal animals, they do not have colour vision.

Bats have radar.

Bats actually use sonar- the difference being that sonar is based on sound- the bat lets out little squeaks (too high for the human ear to hear), this bounces off objects like trees, insects and anything else in the way. In this way, they sense their surroundings in the same way that we see ours.

Radar is based on lots of expensive bits of electronic equipment.

So, if you get bats in your attic, what should you do? Well, the first thing to do is leave them alone. Bats will not eat through electrical cables, they do not build nests and their droppings dry to a fine powder. In short, they will not be a problem except in very exceptional circumstances.

You should also be aware that under the Wildlife Amendment Act, 2000, it is illegal to disturb wild creatures- including frogs and bats. The numbers of both these animals is decreasing in Ireland- so they need all our help. If you want further information, please contact the Environment Section.

Environment Crew


A big welcome to the Environment Crew- Andy and Alan are working for the Environment Section since March this year. They perform a wide variety of jobs including, delivering compost bins, litter bins and trees, assisting in community clean-ups, looking after the bring sites and collecting the recyclables from the Council offices for processing. The crew has already made a big difference since they started. The Council is delighted to have this service as it is a first for Kildare- and other county councils are looking enviously at Kildare! If you are involved in a residents association or community group, the chances are that you will see the crew at some stage.


Litter remains a big cause for concern in Kildare. Most people have a responsible attitude to litter, but a minority still insists on discarding litter without thinking about the consequences. Well, the bad news for the litter louts is that Kildare County Council will be employing a fourth litter warden- this means that if you do drop litter, you have an even higher chance that you will get an on-the-spot litter fine of €125. So, do the right thing-

  • Put your litter in the bin
  • If there is no bin, bring your litter home

If you do witness somebody littering, or you find litter dumped, just ring the Freephone Litter Hot Line at 1800 243143 and give the details

IBAL-The Irish Business Against Litter All Ireland Anti-Litter League

This nationwide competition has Newbridge as the Kildare entrant. To raise awareness of litter in the town, an essay competition was held in the schools. The winning essay was written by Enda Miley, 2 nd Year, Patrician Secondary School, Newbridge. Congratulation to Enda, who wins the tidy sum of €300. Enda's winning entry is  here



Remember, the Recycling Centre at Silliot Hill accepts the following materials for recycling. For further information on these services, contact Silliot Hill at 045 481946.

Domestic recyclables- free:

Cardboard, newspapers/magazines, waste paper, plastic (all grades), glass bottles/jars, steel/aluminium cans, print toner cartridges, clothes/textiles

Domestic recyclables @ €80 per tonne:

Waste oil, car batteries, household hazardous waste, scrap metal>

Domestic waste for recovery @ €153 per tonne + Landfill Levy*:

Electrical goods, green waste, flat glass

Vehicle scrappage @ €50 per vehicle:

Fuel, oil and brake fluid must be removed




Kildare County Council wish to encourage other organisations to recycle their waste, but they can hardly do that if they are not recycling their own!This is why 'Greencheck' was born. This is the name we give to the in-house recycling system in place in the Council. To date, the Council Offices here in St. Mary's are recycling office paper, newspaper and magazines, cardboard, print toners, batteries and fluorescent tubes. This list is being added to where possible. The next stage is to get all the other Council offices doing the same- the Sports Centre in Newbridge and the Motor Tax office in Naas are now also doing their bit. This is resulting in a large drop in the amount of waste going to landfill. The scheme will be further expanded in the future.

The Environment. It's easy | to make a difference.

An Comhshaol. Is furasta | an scéal a athrú