Three local Loop Head men have found themselves a step closer on their journey towards the creation of sustainable bale netting.
The project, led by students, Ciarán Bonfil, Fionn Doherty and Fergal Keane, has just been awarded Leader funding, specifically to assess the future viability and potential of the project.
Having found themselves placed 2nd in the 2021 BT Young Scientist Award, under the guidance of their teacher Laura Egan, in Kilkee Community College, for their work, which explored whether biodegradable and edible bale netting made from hemp, could be a superior alternative to conventional plastic netting, the enterprising young men were determined to explore their findings further.
With huge goodwill and a swell of community support behind them, the young men received mentorship from ‘Loop Head Together’ – a community group on the Loop Head Peninsula, whose members (largely residents of the peninsula itself) pooled together their wide-ranging expertise in areas such as finance and accountancy, project management, legal skills and entrepreneurship – to assist the boys in moving the project forward to the next stage.
The aim of the project was to tackle the concern around single-use, plastic bale wrap while producing an innovative alternative using Hemp. This could also create a climate friendly ‘hemp growing’ opportunity for multiple farmers, potentially providing sustainable job creation on a local level.
This coming phase is for a feasibility study, which will be carried out by Project Consultant Laura Foley MSc and will test the technical and market feasibility of the project going forward. Leader will grant fund €18,000 which amounts to 75% of the cost of the study. The study will investigate the biodegradability, the edibility and the compatibility with legacy farm equipment – as well as primary market research.
If deemed feasible, the project could include wide community benefits in the future, such as the potential to create a circular economy through the growth of raw material, manufacture of the product locally and consumption by local farmers.
The feasibility study will take approx. 6 months, commencing on the 1st of November 2021
‘Loop Head Together’ would like to wish these three enterprising young men, the very best of luck and look forward to tracking the progress of this project.