Welcome to the Environmental Awareness & Research Unit

The Unit has responsibility for developing and implementing environmental awareness programmes in Cork County. The current Environmental Strategy 2016-2020 is available for downloading. The key objectives are Waste Prevention Awareness, Antilitter Awareness, Water Conservation & Water Pollution, and Climate Change & Biodiversity. Cork County Council regards education as a fundamental cornerstone of environmental protection.

Cork County Council is actively promoting waste prevention and resource conservation throughout its public awareness campaigns. Key target groups include businesses, schools and communities.
To this end, Dr Mary Stack, manages the EARU for Cork County Council is running a proactive awareness programme with local initiatives at the core.

At the heart of our youth programme is the Green School Flag initiative. The Council actively promotes this eco Educational Environmental Awards Programme accredited by on Taisce www.greenschoolsireland.org. Following the establishment of the Environmental Awareness Unit, the number of schools participating in the programme has soared from 15 in 2005 to 320 in 2015. This is > 90% of all Cork County schools primary & second level schools.

First Green Flag Ballyheady

1st Green Flag Ballyheady & 3rd Flag for Scoil Mhuire.

Cork County Council itself has participated in waste minimisation & water-energy conservation programmes 'initially with an Action at Work' initiative for its own employees since 2007, through to current participation in national Local Authority Prevention Network. Our energy section has established EMAP energy conservation initiatives to allow the Council to meet the 20% CO2 reduction by 2020.

EARU Info Day

Council staff assist with information day events.

Community involvement, through the Local Agenda 21 Environment fund the Council has directly sponsored over 500 local environmental projects in towns and villages.

The calendar year is extremely busy starting with Green schools assessments & visits in January through to April and again in November to December. The EARU assists with providing workshop trainings for teachers, compost bins and water butts. Lots of additional environmental materials on requests and facilitate school tours to Inniscarra Water works and compost demonstration site.

Spring months brings National Spring Clean events, Neat Streets, Eco Unesco Youth Projects, Schools garden competition, schools poster competition 

EARU Snail

Exhibit by 3rd class in Art Category Best School Garden.

Summer explodes with events such as National Spring Clean events, May is Compost Awareness Month, June is Antilitter Challenge for Towns & Villages, Tidy Towns judging, July through August hosts Fota youth camp environment events, Chew It Bin events, Blue Flag Beach & Clean Coast events, Greening Festivals, Stream & River awareness projects & biodiversity talks.

EARU Tidy Towns

Tidy Towns campaigns to reduce your food waste.

Autumn sees continuation of sustainable gardening projects, Islands environmental initiatives, sustainable shopping events, heritage events.  Winter see series of environmental awareness training events for Tidy Towns, SME.s & Global Action Plan courses and support for Christmas appeals.

EARU Greening Summer Festivals

Greening summer street festivals with promotion of sustainable practices.


Local Agenda 21 Environmental Partnership Fund 2018

Local Agenda 21 (LA21) Environmental Partnership Fund 2018. 


Applications for the 2018 Local Agenda 21 Environmental Partnership Fund are now closed880 projects nationwide will receive funding in the 2018 funding round, including 46 projects in Cork County. The full list of projects funded in 2018 can be viewed on the Department of Communication, Climate Action, and Environment website, here.

If you have any queries regarding the 2018 LA21 Scheme please contact: Environ@CorkCoCo.ie


The 2019 Local Agenda 21 Environmental Partnership Fund will open for applications in April/May 2019.

Environmental Awareness & Business

Waste Prevention Programme for Business

The Local Authority Prevention Network (LAPN), was developed by the Environmental Protection Agency as part of the National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP). The purpose of this initiative is to build capacity in the Local Authorities for the promotion of resource efficiency and waste prevention at a local level. This EPA initiative is providing financial and technical support to Local Authorities to tackle the challenge of waste prevention in partnership with businesses, public organisations, and communities in their area. 

Cork County Council in partnership with South & East Cork Area Development Ltd were successful in receiving a grant aid to develop and implement a programme to encourage small & medium size enterprises, in South & East Cork, to reduce their consumption of materials, water & energy. This programme included the placement of a Waste Prevention Officer in East Cork to promote, advise and guide small to medium size enterprises in South & East Cork on waste prevention and water conservation.

For further information contact Claire Kelly, Waste Prevention Officer, by phone on 021 4613432 or by email: ecobusiness@secad.ie.

Waste Management (Food Waste) Regulations 2009.

In December 2009, the Minister for the Environment signed the Waste Management (Food Waste) Regulations 2009 (S.I. No. 508 of 2009)

From 01 July 2010, commercial food waste, from a producer as defined in the regulations, can no longer go to landfill.

The Waste Management (Food Waste) Regulations, 2009, are designed to promote segregation and recovery of food waste arising in the commercial sector and reduce disposal to landfill. They will facilitate the targets set out in the EU Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) to reduce the amount of Biodegradable Municipal Waste (BMW) going to landfill.

A website has been developed dedicated to the Food Waste Regulations. Sector specific factsheets on the regulations, frequently asked questions and food waste prevention information can be found here

EPA/CTC Publishes Food Waste Prevention Guide.

The Less Food Waste - More Profit Guide provides step by step approach on how to eliminate, reduce, reuse, recycle, recover and dispose of food waste.

This guide has been researched and compiled by Clean Technology Centre, Cork Insitute of Technology in conjunction with the Green Hospitality Awards Programme (GHA) and supported by the Environmental Protection Agency's National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP).

Less Food Waste More Profit: A Guide to Minimising Food Waste in the Catering Sector

Cork County Council Publishes Water Conservation for Businesses Guide

Water is one of our most basic requirements and is essential to life itself. This booklet is aimed at helping businesses monitor and reduce the amount of water they use. There is considerable wastage and loss of water on some supplies to individual premises. Small holes in a half-inch pipe can waste over 10,000 gallons of water per day! There is a growing consensus that the issue of water conservation is not the exclusive preserve of Local Authorities, this is an initiative where we can all play a part.

Water Conservation for Businesses

Environmental Awareness & the Community

Community Projects & October is Reuse Month

National Reuse Month is a new waste prevention initiative to raise awareness about the economic and environmental benefits of reusing everyday items and materials that would otherwise go to waste. Throughout October, local and regional events all over Ireland are encouraged to promote ways for families, businesses and communities to reuse. Visit the Youtube link for video footage.

What can you do ?

Donating, refurbishing and repairing items are all forms of reuse.

SWAP items at home and with friends.

Visit a charity shop and upcycling shop which are popping up in towns and villages throughout the County.

Check your Tidy Towns group Facebook page to see it they are running any initiatives.

Environmental Awareness & the Young

Green Schools

School Registrations & Flags Awarded in Co. Cork
Total no. of Schools in the County Total no. of Schools Registered No. of Flags Awarded
360 323 241





All schools have access to the Councils EARU's  Water Conservation Guide written especially for schools by Dr M. Stack and Biodiversity Guide or schools  written by Conor Neligan & Sharon Casey of CCC's conservation unit.  Several other publications sponsored by EARU such as 10 water facts sheets and Biodiversity fact sheets written by Sherkin Island Marine Station are available on disc and hard copy. |Environment the musical play resource pack is also available on request to EARU.> 90% of schools in Cork County are now registered to the Green Flag programme. 241 Flags for Litter & Waste and water conservation, energy, biodiversity and travel and global citizenship waste & energy themes. 


Green-Schools is an international environmental education programme and award scheme that promotes and acknowledges long-term, whole-school action for the environment. The promotes environmental management and sustainable development education for schools. The approach is a combination of learning and action for improving the environments of schools and their local communities. The programme influences the lives of young people, school staff, families, NGOs.  The programme is implemented by An Taisce with the assistance and sponsorship of local authorities.

Need a compost bin for your school?

Contact Colette.Creedon@corkcoco.ie for a compost bin.


Need assistance with composting?

Contact donal@wastedown.com for assistance with your compost bin operation.

Visit the compost demonstration site at Inniscarra waterworks on appointment to view 10 different types of composters in operation.

Visit the Waterworks if you are undertaking the water flag. Contact aoife.sugrue@corkcoco.ie  Executive Engineer, Inniscarra, Waterworks at  021 4532775 ext 8775

For more information on Green-Schools, click here.

Dr Mary Stack                                                                                
Environmental Awareness & Research Unit
Cork County Council 
Environmental Awareness and Research Unit    
County Cork
021 4532722

Email: mary.stack@corkcoco.ie