Donegal Students’ One Good Idea takes home top honours at SEAI National Awards Final

Errigal College from Letterkenny in Co Donegal has been named the winner of the 2018 SEAI One Good Idea competition for their campaign ‘Bottle It’. The campaign aims to reduce energy use and tackle plastic pollution by encouraging everyone to use BPA free reusable bottles and to refill their bottle instead of buying bottled water. With more than three million tons of plastic bottles going into landfill across the world each year, the students of Errigal College want to reduce their waste plastic and make their school a plastic free zone.

The team from Errigal College were one of 20 finalists to reach the SEAI One Good Idea National Finals, which took place yesterday at the Printworks, Dublin Castle. For the last ten years, the SEAI One Good Idea Competition has encouraged students to create innovative campaigns that can make a big difference in schools, homes and communities to how we use energy in our daily lives. This year, over 200 campaigns were developed by young people all over Ireland.

Commenting on the success of these campaigns, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Mr Denis Naughten TD, said: “At the heart of the SEAI One Good Idea programme is the development of the active citizen. It’s extremely encouraging to see the passion these students have shown in raising awareness of the issue of sustainable energy and climate change and getting their classmates, teachers, families and communities to make positive changes to their energy using behaviour. These changes can make a huge difference so it is exciting to see so many inspiring ideas here today.”

7,000 students from primary and post-primary schools from every county in Ireland have been involved in making energy efficient changes in their homes, schools and communities over the last ten years.

Speaking at the final, Mr Jim Gannon, Chief Executive of the SEAI, said:“Our One Good Idea competition highlights the determination of our country’s young people to contribute to a better, more sustainable future.  One Good Idea empowers our young people, encourages leadership and gives them a chance to have their voice heard in the national conversation we are having around climate change. I’d also like to thank the teachers who got their students involved in this important campaign. Young people learn by example, so thank you for the great example you are setting our younger generations.”

Ms Caitriona Hasson, teacher at Errigal College commented on the award;“We are so delighted to be named the Overall Winner of the 2018 SEAI One Good Idea Competition. We were very impressed by the standard of all the other projects and we knew the competition would be fierce. The students put in an incredible amount of work to raise awareness of the drastic impact plastic is having on our environment. They organised an information day in our local shopping centre, reached out to local businesses and organisations for support, and spoke about the issue on local radio. One Good Idea is a great opportunity for us to get our message out to the wider community, learn a lot and make a difference in Letterkenny.”

A total of six awards were presented across three categories at the SEAI One Good Idea National Final. The other category winners included:

The team from Coláiste Mhicíl wanted to change the way people shop for clothes. With many major clothing retailers selling ‘fast-fashion’ the ‘Rewind, Rewear, Remodel’ Team are teaching their school about eco-friendly fashion.

The ‘Food Fanatics’ are encouraging their classmates, teachers and community to eat local, in season produce. Eating locally grown produce reduces food miles, as well as supporting local jobs and promoting food security. 

‘The Laundry Brigade’ is calling on people to change how they do their laundry. Hand wash clothes and avoid the tumble dryer to save energy and keep your clothes in good condition.

Save energy by switching off the lights. The ‘Legendary Light Savers’ invented Mr BEE, a friendly character who reminds you to switch off the lights.

The ‘S.O.S (Save Our Seas)’ team want to raise awareness of ocean acidification and encourage people to reduce the amount of unnecessary plastic packaging they consume by opting for a reusable shopping bag and purchasing loose fruit and vegetables.