Tuesday, 19 December 2023
Sustainability plays a vital role in the #buydonegal campaign, as it not only promotes the local economy but also ensures the long-term well-being of the region and its communities. By prioritizing sustainability, #buydonegal aims to support businesses that operate in an environmentally responsible manner, minimizing their impact on natural resources and reducing carbon emissions. Sustainable practices, such as sourcing materials locally, reducing waste, and embracing renewable energy, contribute to the preservation of Donegal's unique landscapes and cultural heritage.
By choosing sustainable products and businesses, consumers can actively participate in the conservation of Donegal's natural beauty and contribute to a more resilient and eco-conscious local economy.
Below we highlight a selection of businesses doing just that
Want to buy local AND help the environment this Christmas? Then check out some of the sustainable seasonal gifts, clothing and accessories at Síoraí, the newly launched Carndonagh store
“Christmas can be costly for those on low incomes, and also can create a lot of unnecessary waste,” says Helen Nolan, chief executive of Spraoi. “Shopping in a sustainable store is more affordable and helps recycle quality goods and reduce levels of waste.”
Helen highlights a new range of Síoraí Teacup Candles. “The candles are produced using salvaged china, 100% natural fibre wicks, essential oils, and soy wax. Soy wax is not only a sustainable resource but is also grown without the use of pesticides or herbicides making it an eco-friendly choice.”
Helen says burning Síoraí candles is cleaner burning than paraffin wax. They emit less carbon dioxide, produce no toxins, carcinogens or pollutants - making the candles less likely to trigger allergies. Soy wax also burns cooler and has a lower melting point extending the life and burn time of your candle.
“Our candles are scented with pure essential oils as opposed to chemically manufactured fragrances. Each Síoraí candle is created with the utmost care, using high quality ingredients and hand poured into an exquisite piece of china chosen by a member of the Síoraí family.”
This Christmas, Síoraí seeks to integrate the circular economy into the local community by also encouraging people to also shop for fashionable clothing more sustainably.
Lorraine Carey, Circular Economy Hub Lead at Spraoi agus Spórt, says “We want to make Síoraí a destination every time you are looking for a new outfit or piece of clothing. We encourage people of all ages to shop locally and sustainably with us as we stock men's, women’s, and children's clothes.”
As well as helping the environment, sales from Síoraí also support the work of Spraoi agus Spórt in the area. Helen says, “All funds from sales are used to provide activities and services that help children and young people in the community reach their full potential. In particular, they fund special needs assistance to enable children of all abilities to take part in our programmes and activities. And that’s something to celebrate this Christmas!”
Next up we have Orla Vera Accessories, a luxury brand that is making waves in the sustainable fashion industry. Founded by Orla O'Hagan during the global pandemic, this emerging brand is gaining recognition for its exquisite, durable accessories that are created with a low-waste approach.
Orla's journey began with a first-class honours degree in Footwear & Accessories design from De Montfort University. She further honed her skills while working with the prestigious London-based accessories brand, Sophia Webster, where she gained expertise in footwear, accessories, and small leather goods.
When her position was made redundant due to the pandemic, Orla returned to her roots in the breath-taking hills of Donegal. Embracing this opportunity, she channelled her experience and passion into launching her own brand, Orla Vera Accessories.
The mission of Orla Vera Accessories is to offer luxurious leather products with a sustainable message. Recognizing the immense waste generated by the industry, Orla exclusively works with sustainably-sourced remnants or end-of-line leather to craft timeless pieces for you to cherish, all without causing significant harm to the environment. By repurposing materials that would otherwise end up in landfills, Orla Vera Accessories represents a new era in Irish design, aiming to redefine the fashion industry's standards and inspire a "new norm" of sustainability.
Orla says "I am proud to say that my studio is almost plastic free, and all my packing is made from recycled materials and is recycle-able or biodegradable. Any waste I produce in making my products I turns the offcuts into leather card holders or scrunchies to reduce her carbon footprint even further".
Slow fashion but fast action
Due to the nature of her eco-conscious sourcing and production processes, the quantities of each product may be very limited and often one of a kind, so if you spot something you love act fast before it’s too late. Each Orla Vera product comes with a promise of durability, as their high-end leather matures beautifully from season to season.
Filligans began in 1997 making jam, marmalade and chutney for a Dublin craft shop. While they have expanded the commercial kitchen beside their house twice since then, they finally outgrew the house and moved to new facilities locally.
Everything they produce is hand-made, in small batches, according to traditional farmhouse methods. Their recipes are original – either passed on to them by family and friends, or developed by themselves through research, experimentation and taste-testing.
Working closely with delicatessens, food halls, whole food shops, cafes and restaurants, they have developed a line of products, from traditional preserves to sophisticated oils, ideally suited for all quality food outlets.
Filligans places a strong emphasis on sustainability, which is an integral part of its overall strategy. In 2020, the company achieved Origin Green status, a recognition that highlights its commitment to sustainability across all aspects of its operations, including its relationships with staff, suppliers, customers, and the wider community. Filligans takes pride in using 100% recyclable cardboard for its packaging, ensuring that its environmental impact is minimized. Filligans actively supports the local community, demonstrating its dedication to making a positive impact.
Throughout its history, Filligans has earned numerous awards and accolades for its exceptional products and commitment to excellence. The company has been honoured with prestigious recognitions such as Great Taste and Blas na hÉireann awards, showcasing the high quality and delicious flavours of its jams. In 2020, Filligans was awarded the Georgina Campbell National Breakfast Preserve Award, further cementing its position as a leader in the industry. The company's achievements extend beyond product recognition, as it was also honored with the best 'Food Coast' category in the Donegal Local Enterprise Awards in 2019