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rain water harvesting butts

peter donegan - rain water harvesting buttsI always reuse the grey water from my house & throw it over the veggie plot. Butt [!] it’s time to go a stage further. I wanted a water butt. It took a little research and I go two from… fingal county council.

Made from recycled plastic, Dublin City Council [their page is a little more informative] are selling them too. I dont know about the rest of the country. Sorry!

How much? I paid €40 by bin tags [which is tax deductable] and collected myself. Thats really good value by the way. I thought they’d be sold out – but – the guy in Swords Estuary Recycling Centre said the uptake hadn’t been so great. That’s a bit of a shame and a little surprising. Maybe water charges should come in after all?

HOW TO FIT YOUR HARVESTER[what the instructions don’t tell you]

Anyhow – the fitting is a little tricky. Partly, because my instructions were wet! remember – take your time – measure twice & cut once

peter donegan - rain water butt install 1] place the butt where you want it near the down pipe from your gutters. Hold the pipe in place [as it will sit]; mark where you will cut; make sure it reaches. Cut the down pipe with a hand saw and again removing about 1cm of pipe. You may need a little more – but a good ‘wallop’ [careful and easy! measure twice – cut once!!] should knock it back into place. The section supplied should now be in place & the black hose should now protrude.

rain water harvesting - peter donegan landscaping 2] With the butt sitting on its stand, you now need to drill into the side of the butt – again careful measure twice and cut once – to fit the connection so as the pipe from the downpipe will connect to the harvester and don’t forget gravity!

water butts - peter donegan landscaping ltd3] you’ll need a decent screwdriver to knock the lid into place

That is pretty much it! Careful when cutting – or you’ll take most of the paint off the walls [and your fingers too…!] and make sure and leave the tap in the off position… I don’t need to explain that one…. ? All one needs to do now is wait for it to rain.

We really should allow fixtures like this more readily into our garden designs…

landfill is for wasters – recycle a computer

recycle computers I don’t know much about computers, really. Like a car, I can drive it but thats it. Anyhow there’s a computer crowd called UBUNTU…..

They’ve decided to work alongside Camara, an Irish charity who take in second hand computers do them up [basically] and send them to schools and colleges in Africa who need them.

You might say its a bit like the Jack and Jill foundation and giving them your old phone. Whats that got to do with a garden? Well it beats sending it to landfill I suppose. So there you have it.

If you’re going to chuck it out – give these lads a call first and make yourself feel all super dooper and amazing. It may be one, it may be one hundred. It will be used. You can rob the plug off the end if you really that desperate. They use different plugs in Africa anyway

Go on, don’t be a waster!

Tree leaves may have a bio-cycle


go make a difference - book review peter donegan

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Among the many books in my library I have a little gem called Go make a Difference – over 500 daily ways to save the planet. Whilst the book relates mainly to mainland UK it is still quite a fine journal crammed with useful links and thins that can be so easily done to help our planet.


One genius little junket was to do with a company who sells products made from from recycled tyres! Remarkable Technologies Ltd however have a website which is brilliant and whilst diddling through it over the weekend I found this page/ paper called Tree leaves: A free source of energy, literally falling from the sky where the author Eric Knight believes that ‘A new, renewable energy source, tree leaves, maybe the ideal earth-friendly bio fuel feedstock for the production of ethanol and/ or as a secondary fuel source for power plants.’

That one may not be so relevant to the general populus… but for apartment dwellers and bedsitters to those in country mansions – if you only did one of these per month in your life… As one of the reviews on the back by John Vidal, environment editor with The Guardian says, ‘How many people does it take to change the world? One to buy this book and six billion to act on it’.


going green – is it a waste?

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I made a conscious decision some time ago that if the earth, landscaping to be precise, was my work then I as best as possible and the donegan landscaping team should work to a little more for the earth. It sounds like a fair deal and it is. It wasn’t that I/we did nothing green from the outset, but more a company strategy of sorts needed to be put into practice to create an ethos that could be improved upon.

When selecting trees out of season we try [it’s not always possible] to use trees from ‘air grown pots’ [like the ones above] as they’re reusable.

The green waste from garden is, naturally, recycled. The large wood heats the office and the softer, smaller wood goes to mulch.

When we buy compost and bark that we cannot generate ourselves it comes from recycled materials – rather than from bogs.

When we do, we also only use mulching mowers – a big carbon saver!

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One would assume it stops there…. ? There is the usual recycling of cloth material, electric appliances, glass, cans and also when shopping giving back all packaging; energy saving bulbs and a very well insulated building; we also located ourselves within a four mile radius of four main suppliers – more than that? the coffee grinds, tea bags and fruit peels etc. go to the green waste heap.

To reduce paper we recycle envelopes; we’re decommissioning our facsimile machine and moving to emailing company documents; waste paper is also turned over & used for note paper and then made into a máche type fire log to heat the office via our wood stove.

We buy Irish products, locally when possible – I know that’s got something to do with carbon footprints somewhere.

Is there more I/ we do? Is there more we can do? Since starting almost eight years ago now we kind of figured through our monthly meetings ourselves to this point – surely we can do a little more?! can we?

save a tree… recycle an envelope

I was looking at ways of making office life a little ‘greener’ recently and one monthly meet suggestion was to recycle our envelopes. A Forais na Gaeilge translation later, being that we are Barr 50 and we [sara] came up with this green – irish sticker.

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At present we heat the office from recycled timber and compressed paper, mulch our coffee grinds and tea bags etc… as much as we can [another blog required I think…]. But is this something more of us should be doing more of ??

Next on the list is decomissioning that darned facsimile machine!