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Merry Christmas from Live Here Love Here

Karina Robinson   Mon 06 Jan 2020

Just a note to say thank you for all your help, support and hard work throughout the year! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We hope you enjoy our last newsletter of 2019, we've got our Top Ten Sustainable Christmas Tips, some exciting news about our Small Grants Information Sessions in 2020 and a great community event to start the New Year. We look forward to working with you all again in the next decade!

From Jodie, Nicola, Karina and Ciara

’Tis the Season for Sustainability - Our top 10 tips

Karina Robinson   Thu 28 Nov 2019

In 2019 both the UK and Ireland governments declared climate emergencies – so it’s never been more important for families to make this festive season sustainable. Last Christmas alone our wasted wrapping paper could have stretched around the planet nine times over, so the Live Here Love Here team at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful are calling for families to source eco-friendly alternatives.

Households in Northern Ireland throw away 230,942 tonnes of waste across the festive season* - more than any other time of the year.

Christmas is usually an indulgence of parties, gifts, decorations and lots to eat and drink. Nowadays there are plenty of eco alternatives that will help save our environment whilst letting us enjoy all the things we love about Christmas.

The trick is to start small - we challenge you (and ourselves!) to try just one of our top 10 tips for a sustainable Christmas;

Top Tips for an Eco-Friendly Christmas

1 - With gift wrapping you want to reuse last year’s giftbags and left over paper before buying more. Think alternative materials by wrapping in newspaper or make the wrapping part of the present by using cloth or a scarf. If you have to buy, try recyclable wrapping paper (avoiding glitter as it contains microplastics) and do the ‘scrunch test’. If the paper stays in a ball shape, then it can be placed in the recycling box but if it ‘springs’ back it is most likely metallised plastic film and therefore not currently recyclable.

2 - Reusing an existing artificial tree is better than buying a new real tree each year. If you do buy, get a potted version you can replant after Christmas and enjoy for years to come. Trees can also be considered as presents too - gift a native tree and plant it with friends and family to mark the end/start of a new year.

3 - Make handcrafted decorations – classic styles that will last a lifetime and are fun to create with the kids. (edible decorations can make things more interesting and are easily disposed of!)

4 – If you’re searching for the perfect party outfit try buy and sell clothing apps or visit a local charity or vintage shop plus all major retailers now stock sustainable clothing lines. You could always get into the festive season and throw a clothes swap party with friends.

5 - Think organic for food, try to plan ahead as best as possible to minimise waste and visit local fruit and veg or farm shops for package free goods.

6 – Use LED Christmas lights with timers to save energy.

7 - Ditching the car for a winter walk or sharing a lift with friends avoids unnecessary pollution plus the festive season has extended public transport times so glide or try the train!

8 – 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away each year in the UK - send e-cards instead or make a DIY card for close friends and family that they are likely to keep as a memento (again avoiding glitter). If you need to buy think charity cards that are made of recycled materials.

9 - Create your own advent calendar that will last for generations with wooden boxes or felt pockets and simply restock each year with edible treats.

10 - Gift buying can be one of the most stressful parts of Christmas but there are plenty of options - check if items are environmentally friendly by searching for established logos such as Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance. Secret Santa is always a good option to keep the number of gifts down or use Secret Santa to regift especially for young children. Consider buying your presents from a charity shop – in doing so you can reduce your packaging, recycle or rehome existing toys and clothes meaning new resources don’t have to be exploited and you have the added benefit of the money being donated to a good cause. Try organic and recyclable clothing and beauty products, solid soap ranges, bamboo products as well as pledging money to charity or using vouchers for experiences to enjoy together.

The key is to try and buy less and when you do buy, be responsible. Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful also has a number of eco-friendly projects live over Christmas which encourage time spent together as a family - such as Adopt a Spot and various community litter picks - let’s do our bit this Christmas!

What’s on in Autumn 2019

Karina Robinson   Wed 16 Oct 2019

Hello friend,

The season of 'too cold for t-shirts, too warm for jumpers' is upon us! Firstly we want to say thank you to everyone who took part in our Big Beach Clean in conjunction with Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Clean Up! The numbers are still coming in but hundreds of thousands of volunteers from around the world participated in the 2019 International Coastal Cleanup. So from us at Live Here Love Here...THANK YOU! If you have any pictures we'd love to include them in our next newsletter and social media.

The same goes for all of you who have completed your Small Grants projects already- let us know how you are getting on! In this issue we've a few photographs and stories from our Big Beach Clean Ocean Heroes, some details on our Adopt A Spot programme, upcoming events, information on DAERA's 25 Year Plan, a few ghoulish tips for a plastic free Halloween and of course, our Litter Heroes of the Month.

From Jodie, Nicola, Karina and Ciara

One Big Opportunity: DAERA 25 Year Plan

Karina Robinson   Tue 08 Oct 2019   updated: Mon 03 Feb 2020

The Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs has launched a consultation to develop a 25 year plan for our environment. That gives you one BIG opportunity to make a real difference and we want to make sure decision makers hear from you.

To make it easier for you and to give you some ideas we have included our responses below. To see the list of questions and full report go to:

Simply copy and paste the text below and email it to by 5pm on 5th February 2020.

Remember to say who you are and include your age.

Please share this with your family, friends, work colleagues and networks. The climate emergency requires ambitious leadership and urgent action. Everyone needs to raise their voice, everyone needs to play their part.

Our Responses

Question 1: Do you agree that the Environment Strategy should sit alongside existing Executive-endorsed strategies, such as the Sustainable Development, Public Health and Economic Strategies?


Create healthier communities by providing opportunities to get together more outdoors in accessible public spaces to do good and feel good through practical environmental action. This should link in with other strategies around sustainable development, mental Health and well-being. Research has shown the benefits that volunteering has for an individual’s general health.

Question 4: Do you have any comments on what specific issues should be included under a proposed Environmental Engagement strategic theme?


Inform every young person about climate breakdown, the loss of our wildlife and marine plastic pollution and what it means for our future. Help us find ways to raise awareness and to take action together. Declare a climate emergency.

Question 5: Do you have any comments on what specific issues should be included under a proposed Environmental Prosperity strategic theme?


Invest more in public transport making our dependence on cars less necessary and improving air quality

Question 7: Do you have any comments on what specific issues should be included under a proposed Environmental Quality strategic theme?


Plant more native trees. We have the lowest level of tree cover anywhere in Europe and want to see 20% of our land planted with trees; important for nature to thrive.

Create a waste free society where we use less, waste less and stop polluting our seas. And anything we use, including single use plastics, needs to be part of a truly circular economy.

Help everyone learn how to grow more tasty local food and provide plants for our pollinating bees.

Question 10: What are your big ideas for the future protection and enhancement of the environment?

Response All of the above

Have a Ghoulishly Green Halloween...

Karina Robinson   Tue 08 Oct 2019

A not so scary guide to a waste free Halloween!

The plastic waste created around the holiday seasons can be enough to give anyone a fright! But never fear, we've complied a quick list of our top tricks and treats for an eco conscious celebration.

Tip 1. Choose a plastic-free costume. Avoid costumes made with PVC/vinyl, which are more likely to be contaminated with chemicals. Make your own costume from natural fabrics, repurpose items you already own, or visit a charity shop for the perfect outfit.

Tip 2. Get rid of the inevitable sweet wrappers responsibly. For those hard-to-recycle sweet wrappers, you can purchase one of Terracycle’s candy-and-snack-wrapper Zero Waste boxes and ship it back for recycling.

Tip 3. Why not buy sweets the old school way in bulk and hand it out in homemade paper bags? Mystery bags are great fun and you could decorate your recycled paper bags with spooky ghosts and or pumpkins.

Tip 4. Remember the days of turnip carving?! Why not go back to our roots and carve a native turnip rather than a pumpkin. It's a little trickier to carve so do be careful but let's face it...they're truly far more terrifying! Bonus Point: A turnip bake is a delicious Autumn treat.

Tip 5. We all know by now but stay away from plastic rubbish! Decorations can be kind to the environment while still giving that spooky setting. Make a ghost by stuffing a towel in a white sheet, tying with string, and hanging in a tree or near a door. Kids (and adults!) love warning signs of danger ahead. Paint your own creepy message on a wooden board. “Turn back now!" The more rustic, the better! You can also turn cereal boxes into gravestones. Just remember to keep it simple so that you can recycle after!

We hope you all have a fun time and we'd love to hear your tips on how to make a Green Halloween.


Karina Robinson   Thu 03 Oct 2019

Saturday 21st September 2019 was International Coastal Clean Up Day and for one old Bangor-based wooden fishing boat it was ‘business as usual’ as willing hands hauled a bulging net aboard…

The Seabird no longer nets herring, however - her catch of the day was thousands of pieces of waste plastic, gathered from the waters and beaches of Belfast Lough by groups of local volunteers under the Live Here Love Here banner!

Operated by the recently formed eco-charity Citizen Sea, this was Seabird’s first mission on ‘active service’ in the fight to save our seas from plastic and other pollutants.

With a volunteer crew and skippered by experienced Portavogie fisherman Robert Coffey, the Seabird is based at Bangor Marina, where she can be easily accessed by groups of school children and young people, in her role as an on-the-water research and education facility.

Saturday 21st September saw the Seabird, in concert with another former fishing vessel, Whaleheart, act as a floating collection point for the refuse gathered by volunteers from the beaches and tidelines of Belfast Lough.

Commenting on the event, Citizen Sea co-founder Tony McLoughlin said, “We are overwhelmed by the response from local communities in the Belfast Lough area to our first environmental plastics action. Seabird became a mothership and carried all the collected bags of waste into the Abercorn Basin. The day’s ‘catch’ comprised 3300 cubic litres of waste! Our aim is to highlight the amount of plastic waste entering our coastal waters and to raise awareness amongst our citizenship.”

Echoing her co-founder’s comments, Citizen Sea Director Jen Firth said, “We would like to thank the local community groups, Live Here Love Here, Beach Cleaners Ards and North Down, Seasearch, the Whitehead Wombles, Ulidia Primary School, Mid and East Antrim Council, Jordanstown Swimmers, Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club, Carrickfergus Harbour and all the local people who got involved. We are also indebted to our supporting vessels Whaleheart and Sail Ability - for delivering our cargo safely - and to Belfast Harbour, Ards and North Down Council and Quay Marinas Bangor.”

Amazon Smile

Karina Robinson   Thu 03 Oct 2019

We live in a time of overconsumption.  We all need to use less, borrow more, and be happy with what we have.  But we have to do it in steps we can manage.  We would always promote use what we have, reuse what others don’t want, buy better and buy local.  There are times when this is not always possible and for whatever reason you need to buy from further afield.

Keep Northern Ireland has signed up to Amazon Smile.  This means that if you make a purchase using every purchase you make will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

In order to donate you need to buy through the Amazon Smile site but you can switch to it before paying if you have gone in through the normal amazon site.  You can add it to you toolbar to help remind you.

When ordering from Amazon please look at the frustration free packaging option – which will ship you your products without additional packaging, designed to reduce waste in 100% recyclable packaging.  Also at checkout choose the option of least number of parcels so items are sent as one rather than lots of separate packages.

Every little bit helps us to do more so please share our link widely and use it sparingly when needed.

Thank you

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful


Karina Robinson   Fri 06 Sep 2019

Video Highlighting Importance of Recycling Wins £5k Prize

Live Here Love Here, a civic pride campaign by local charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, launched the ‘Creator Comp’ within the Power of Video Festival, offering budding enthusiasts the chance to show their skills, creativity and imagination by telling a story via video on why recycling is important to them.

The Power of Video Festival ran from 29th-31st August in the Ulster Hall with top name sponsors such as McDonald’s UK, Canon, Adobe, Epidemic and Vidlq to name a few - bringing together the world's top video creators such as Arron Crascall, Lizzie Peirce and Chris Hau for hands-on learning, entertainment and networking.

Nick Wichman from Portland Oregon, was crowned the winner with his video based on the potential to repurpose items, sounds and styles into meaningful outputs that are no longer considered waste. Nick was one of 1250 attendees joined by influencers, video content creators and businesses from all over the world. Nick walked away with over £5,000 worth of high-tech prizes including a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and Video Assist, a Peak Design capture clip, Sennheiser audio gear and a 1 year free music license with Epidemic Sound plus much more.

Live Here Love Here Manager Jodie McAneaney comments: “We were so impressed by the calibre of entries and passionate views shared on recycling – congratulations again to Nick Wichman, an inspirational winner. Power of Video is an exciting project. This competition, now in its second year, gives us the opportunity to reach a whole new audience and raise awareness on waste - encouraging communities to reduce, reuse and recycle; a crucial part of protecting our environment.”

Live Here Love Here is a national campaign aimed at promoting a community can-do attitude by improving environmental quality in Northern Ireland. The charity tackle issues such as poor environmental quality, littering and dilapidation, by encouraging volunteers to take practical action in their local communities.

Event organiser Damien Gallagher from Power of Video comments: “We were blown away by the quality of the competition entries and it was great to see so many people passionate about recycling. We would like to give a special thanks to McDonald's UK, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and all the other sponsors who helped this competition be a success.”

Neal Hunter from McDonald’s UK, event sponsor, comments: “At McDonald’s we have a responsibility to use our global scale to address some of the key environmental challenges including packaging and recycling. We were delighted to join Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and sponsor the Power Of Video creator competition for the second consecutive year. I was really impressed by the quantity and standard of entries.

“It is encouraging to see such enthusiasm for key environmental issues from young creators, especially as McDonald’s is committed to constantly improving its sourcing, packaging and transportation processes to lessen its environmental footprint. Congratulations to all of the entrants and especially to Nick for his powerful video.” To watch the shortlisted videos and find out more search #POVBelfast or visit

Live Here Love Here Summer Update 2019

Karina Robinson   Wed 10 Jul 2019

Check out our Summer Newsletter! You've all been extremely busy over the past few months with BIG Spring Clean, Small Grants Scheme, Clean Coasts Week, Power of Video Competition Launch and the Kik Plastic tour!

We'd like to thank everyone who has been involved and supported each of the programmes.

Thank you for making this year bigger than ever. We've smashed 2018 out of the park...just take a look at our results in our Live Here Love Here Summer Update.

Plastic pollution: Compostable Packaging Trial

Karina Robinson   Wed 03 Jul 2019

Public awareness of plastic pollution is on the rise and businesses are also taking action to reduce the amount of pointless plastic they use.

As part of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful’s Tackling Plastic NI Project (funded by DAERA), we’re currently trialing compostable packaging items throughout Ards & North Down, to reduce plastic pollution on our streets and shores.

Through the Live Here Love Here campaign and Ards & North Down Borough Council’s RCIF Scheme we visited on-the-go retailers and asked if they would like to get involved. We got chatting to business owners who had already invested in compostable packaging, those who had thought about it but hadn’t yet taken the plunge and those who it was all new to.

With 625 bits of litter found on our beaches every 100m, 78% of which was plastic, including polystyrene food containers, plastic cutlery, food wrappers, plastic bottles and tops, as businesses and consumers we need to make changes fast.

We worked closely with local waste management company, Natural World Products, who had carried out trials on specific compostables to ensure items were 100% certified as compostable.

Participating retailers will be educating their customers on how to dispose of compostable items correctly. Either by giving back to the retailer or putting them in their food caddy/bin. Look out for the compostable packaging in Ards & North Down area with the Live Here Love Here and RCIF logos. Make sure to tell the shop what you thought. We want to understand how well compostable items work from both vendor user view. We all need to work together and make small sacrifices to our convenience driven lives to reduce pointless plastic and help the environment in which we live.

If your favourite sandwich shop is using single-use plastic, especially polystyrene, ask them to source alternatives, or ask if you can you bring your own food container. Small changes can make a big difference.

Our message:

If you don’t need it, don’t use it – don’t just pick up the plastic cutlery or straw ‘just in case’

If you use it, source an alternative – bring your own reusable food container, or choose to buy from a business using an alternative to plastic for takeaway food

If you do use plastic – ensure you recycle/dispose of it properly, if it can be recycled take it home, if it can’t make sure it’s disposed of in a bin and won’t end up on our streets or beaches.

Check out the BBC coverage on the trial: