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CITY TRIBUNE

Student’s experiment sees him put crisp packets to novel use

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Crisp packets are annoying; they’re noisy, they’re never actually full, and they can’t be easily recycled. But what if crisp packets could be re-used for something cool?

Garreth Smith, a past pupil of Galway Technical Institute, realised they could be used for something more than crisps – skateboards. Yep, skateboards.

While studying in Dublin, he entered a project design competition with the task of identifying types of waste and creating something of value.

While walking through campus one day, he was handed a free packet of Doritos and he got an idea. The packets reminded him of his childhood where his parents would shrink them in the oven – “they used to shrink down considerably but they’d be much firmer to the touch”, he explains.

He began experimenting with the material and methods for about six months and the first object he made was a stool for the competition.

Garreth thought more could be done and so, he took it on as his final year project and, as a big skateboarding fan, he decided to use this opportunity to make something he loves.

The 24-year-old began his research and found that due to the foil in crisp packets, the only way for them to be recycled is to take that foil off.

“But it takes a lot of effort and energy, so there’s no economic incentive to do it and, so, the packets end up in landfills,” says Garreth.

Traders in India were the only example he could find of people using a method like this and they would weave the material into colourful ropes. Garreth felt as though he “stumbled upon a goldmine because it’s such a popular material” and not a lot was being done with it.

Keogh’s Crisps gave Garreth five or six large bin bags filled with the waste from production, such as bags which weren’t printed right or bags which didn’t seal correctly.

It takes around 500 packets to make one skateboard and the process isn’t quick either; the packets all have to be cleaned manually and are shredded. Garreth started shredding them by hand but he realised it wasn’t the way to go and, so, invested in a shredder.

The shredded packets then go into clear halogen ovens for an hour to 90 minutes to shrink. Small amounts go in at a time as Garreth explains they wouldn’t melt or mould properly otherwise.

This produces “two blobs” which are kneaded together and put into a mould. “They’re like really hot and sticky piles of plastic,” laughs Garreth. Pressure is put on the mould using a press and after 20 minutes it’s popped out of the mould.

From there, any excess material is taken off and wheels and grip tape are applied, and there you go – a Bruscair Board. It can take three to four hours to make for one person to make a single board.

It took trial and error but Garreth’s perseverance resulted in a successful Bruscair Board. He also designed and did the 3D work for the wooden mould used for the boards. “That was probably the hardest part of the project,” he admits, “it took an incredible amount of time.”

Bruscair Boards haven’t been available to buy as Garreth explains that “they would never have come close to the safety standards that skateboards currently have to adhere to.” However, he is hopeful that he can work at the boards and make them function in the future.

There are three of these boards in existence at the moment but Garreth laughs as he says that he has broken another five through testing, “they can support your weight no problem”, but he explains that if the board lands from a height of one or two feet then it can snap.

Garreth has since finished college and, although he is from Valentia Island in Kerry, he decided to move back to Galway and his sights are set on bigger and better projects using his original idea. “You could possibly apply this material to a wall; it could be used as an insulator for houses,” he suggests.

The Vault, a new indoor skate park and rock-climbing facility coming to the city later in the year, will play host to Garreth and his inventive skills. He hopes to do workshops teaching kids about recycling and will plan his role there more in the coming months.

CITY TRIBUNE

Whopping repayments for City Hall’s move

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Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath: Responding to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the Council suggested that senior management at City Hall did not meet with the owner of Crown Square in Mervue in the year before the loan approval for the purchase of the new offices there. If they did meet, no minutes exist.

The total cost to repay the loan required to execute Galway City Council’s planned purchase of new offices to accommodate a move from City Hall will be €63.1 million, the Galway City Tribune has learned.

It means the City Council will have to find €2m every year for 30 years in its own revenue budget to repay the mortgage, which could impact on the level of service it delivers to the public or may require an increase in charges or commercial rates.

Separately, a Council reply to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request suggests senior management at City Hall did not meet with the owner of Crown Square in Mervue in the year prior to the loan approval for the purchase of the new offices – and if they did meet, no minutes exist.

In its loan sanction application form, submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the City Council applied for permission to borrow €45.4 million.

This is to cover the bulk of the cost of the €56.5m total capital outlay associated with moving from City Hall and relocating all Galway City Council employees from College Road to the new Crown Square offices in Mervue.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Hunt on for new courthouse to tackle explosion in cases

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Galway Courthouse: Limited facilities there make it difficult to clear lengthy Circuit Court lists.

The Courts Service is scouring the city for rental property to accommodate Galway Courthouse.

Commercial real estate advisors, Avison Young have been hired to source suitable property in the city centre.

The company published an advert in Galway City Tribune last week outlining the Courts Service’s property requirement of suitable commercial or office space of 1,800-2,000 metres squared.

Avison Young said the space should be in the city centre and be available to lease.

On-site parking is required, and it needs to be available for “immediate occupation”.

The move comes after the Galway City Tribune revealed earlier this month that victims of serious crime are waiting up to three years for justice because Galway’s limited court facilities make it difficult to clear lengthy Circuit Court lists.

Due to an explosion in the number of cases sent for trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court, the wait for a trial date is between 24 and 36 months.

The Courts Service confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was looking for a new courthouse and office space facilities.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Stars align as Teapots finally stage Into the Dark Woods

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Blue Teapot director Petal Pilley with cast members Michael Hayes and Valerie Egan ahead of the show.

Into the Dark Woods

Blue Teapot at the Black Box

REVIEW BY JUDY MURPHY

After several false dawns, Blue Teapot Theatre Company finally got to stage its long-awaited drama, Into the Dark Woods, in the city’s Black Box Theatre last week. A Galway 2020 commission, and written by company member Charlene Kelly, it was originally meant to be presented more than two years ago.

Blue Teapot is made up of actors with intellectual disabilities and Charlene is one of its best-known performers, but this marked her first foray into writing, supported by dramaturg Eileen Gibbons. The production, directed by the company’s Artistic Director Petal Pilley, has done her proud.

It’s a short, moving, sometimes humorous piece about two young people with intellectual disabilities from very different backgrounds, who get lost in the woods where they are confronted by various demons and monsters.

Jennifer Cox plays Sharon whose grandmother (Mary Monaghan-McHugh) has taught her to be independent and outward looking, while Kieran Coppinger is a prince who has been cocooned in a nearby castle by his father (Midie Corcoran), a king who feels his son isn’t capable of inheriting the throne.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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