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SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

May 2019, a multi-million-euro EU led project with three Irish partners including University of Limerick is aiming to increase the recycling rates for plant nutrients in the food production chain by harvesting lost nutrients from waste. ReNu2Farm, is a University of Limerick supported Interreg Europe consortium working together to offer farmers a better solution to non-EU mined phosphorus fertilizers by harvesting nutrients from wastewater and poultry litter. Working with fellow Irish partners at Cork Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow, Dr Achim Schmalenberger of UL is aiming to increase recycling rates for plant nutrients nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), by extracting them from waste sources to produce phosphorus rich ashes and struvites. The recycled ashes can be then spread on grassland areas in place of artificial fertilizers sourced from outside the EU. At present, the EU is heavily dependent on the importation of artificial fertilizers in the primary food production chain, especially in the Interreg zone of Northwest Europe (NWE). “We are researching the ability of the soil microbiota to cycle phosphorus and make it plant available. Only 20% of the phosphorus in conventional fertilizer applications are directly taken up by the plant as microbes are largely responsible for the mobilization of the remaining 80% of phosphorus from the fertilizer as well as other sources of phosphorus present in the soil,” the University of Limerick researcher explained.

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UL Says No to Single Use in the Library

In Ireland it is estimated that 22,000 single-use cups are disposed of every hour and more than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans every year (, 2019). The library will strongly discourage use of single use containers ‘Reusable’ cups, bottles and containers that have a lid are permitted in the library.

Reusable Cups

  1. All first year UL students can claim a free reusable cup from the UL campus shop, using the voucher in their orientation welcome pack.
  2. Many cafés on campus offer a discount on beverages with reusable cups.

Fill up at the Fountain / Reusable Bottles

  1. There are four water fountains in the library.
  2. Reuse a water bottle, to reduce the plastic associated with single use bottles.
  3. Reusable water bottles are available to buy from the library information desk.

We Need You

  1. Over 1.06 million people came into the library last year.
  2. Making a small change, can make a big difference.

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To coincide with Science Week in November 2019, What Planet Are You On? a factual reality series funded by Science Foundation Ireland, follows three households tackling real challenges in the areas of water, waste, energy, and food in their homes. Three households welcomed cameras into their homes. Each house was retro fitted with water flow meters to measure every drop of H2O used, smart plugs and a new electricity monitoring device called a Smappee recorded every Watt consumed by the households and their bins were taken away each week to be assessed. A team of Data Collectors monitored the three households, day, and night. Crunching the numbers, four experts in their fields; Professor JJ Leahy for energy use inside and outside the home, each show features a week of household monitoring, followed by a meeting with the Experts. 

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University of Limerick is located on a beautiful parkland site bordering the River Shannon. With nearly 2600 residents living on campus, Campus Life Services are committed to promoting environmental issues within the Villages, providing information and methods to assist everyone in reducing their impact on the environment. UL Campus Life is committed to working with contractors to reduce the overall impact of its operations on the environment through the delivery of key objectives and actions to continuously improve performance in this area.

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Every Tuesday, University of Limerick hosts its very own Farmers Market. This initiative is part of a broader movement to encourage ethical consumption and sustainable development within the university. We believe, there are many reasons to buy and consume local food:

  1. It supports local farmers and food producers.
  2. It makes a positive impact on the environment and helps reduce “food miles.”

The UL Farmers Market is an important initiative and one that needs your support. The range of local produce available includes conservation beef and lamb from the Burren, organic meat and fish, breads, and pastries from Nenagh and homemade chocolate. This market allows the campus community to buy local produce and to meet with regional food producers.

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