The phantom litter picker – John Wilkie Q&A

In what we hope will become a regular feature to get to know our volunteers, we posed a few questions to Tidy Towns volunteer John Wilkie, in order to get to know what makes him tick and what makes him wave a litter grabber in triumph (or in anger!)

1. What makes you laugh the most?

JW – 0ccasionally Sarcasm make me Laugh. Laughter is a hugely underrated activity. l always try to see the funny side to everything. Also, the things people say! – Like ‘oh its yourself’ or ‘I see you in the town today’. I find Fr Ted very Funny, and as a child I loved Monty Python’s flying Circus – very funny.

2. How long have you been involved with Tidy Towns?

JW – I started with the Letterkenny Tidy towns in  2012 – just started cleaning up around my own area, lower Dromore. Also started cleaning along the dual carriageway around that time – me and family members.

3. What do you enjoy about being involved with the Tidy Towns?

JW – l love the freedom of volunteering you can do a few hours when ever you can – it’s just brilliant.

4. Who is your number one hero?

JW – Greta Thunberg the Swedish environmentalist / activist who is know for challenging world Leaders on Climate change – she is amazing for such a young person. Also Sir David Attenborough is amazing.

5. Where is your favourite place to be in nature?

JW – I just Love anywhere there is Trees…Like Carravaddy ,or Ards Forest park. I also like island hopping, going to visit Arranmore ,Tory island ,Cruit island – so beautiful right on our doorstep – please visit sometime.

6. If they were making a movie about your life, what would the theme tune be?

JW – Star Trek – Space, the final frontier, to boldly go where no man has gone before…

7. You are an amazing litter picker, what motivates you to keep on going?

JW – Well!! For me its about giving back to our Community we must all do our we bit for biodiversity and the environment

8. If you were a superhero what special powers would you have?

JW – The phantom Litter Picker. My superpower is my Laser beam eyes that Zaps all rubbish off the face of the Earth.

9. What is the most unusual piece of rubbish you have picked up?

JW – Well I have found some unusual things, such as ….

– Three piece suit

– Arm chair

– Toilet

– Microwave oven

– Deep fat fryer

– 4 tins of Beans

– 12 Cans of Beer

– Bag of Ashes

– Small bag of Cocaine

– Pregnancy Test which was positive

– Dog house

– New pair of Nike runners

Editors note – sounds like the Generation Game conveyor belt gone wrong. Didn’t he do well! Etc Etc…..

10. Do you possess a wig?

JW – Yes i have a Elvis Wig
Thank you very much…huh hu..

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Food Waste

Did you know that 28% of the world’s agricultural land is used to produce food which is wasted? More than half of this food waste comes from industrial and retail sectors, but a significant amount of it comes from households, so we can all do our bit to reduce this waste. Aside from environmental issues, it has been estimated that the average Irish household spends 700 Euros per year on food which ends up in the bin.

The Environmental Protection Agency have produced the website Stop Food Waste, which is full of helpful tips on how to reduce food waste.

The graphic below shows which food items are wasted the most.

So what can we, as householders, do to reduce food waste?

  • Planning – by taking a shopping list, we are less likely to buy on impulse, and are more likely to think about what we are actually likely to eat.
  • Avoid ‘2 for 1’ offers on perishable foods.
  • If cooking more than is likely to be eaten at one sitting, try to cook things which can be stored and reheated another time. For example, most pasta dishes, stews, chillies and curries will taste even better the second time around! Besides, you then have a second meal for half the effort.
  • If you have a compost bin, put all your waste food in there.
  • Get creative with food which might otherwise go to waste. The photos below show a veggie curry side dish I made from veggies that were left in the fridge. Delicious AND cheap.

We will be looking for more of your ideas for using up food which might otherwise go to waste.

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