The EPA has found the winners of this year’s The Story of Your Stuff competition in Co. Kerry. Amber Pomeranz and Lauren Lehane, students at Presentation Secondary School Milltown, teamed up to tell the story of chewing gum – from its history to how it’s currently manufactured and how innovative ways are being found to reduce its negative impact on the environment after use.

This is the second year the EPA has hosted their secondary school competition, The Story of Your Stuff. Dr Easkey Britton, five-time Irish national surf champion, was chosen as the ambassador for this year’s campaign. Students were asked to submit stories about the life cycle of an everyday object with an underlying theme of recycling and sustainability. The submitted entries focused on everything from wellies to wheels. The judges were impressed with the entrants’ ability to approach the competition with a creative and refreshing perspective.

Speaking about the winning entry, Dr Easkey Britton said,

“I’m completely inspired by the creativity from everyone who participated in The Story of Your Stuff competition. It showcases so powerfully the talent and potential for young people to engage with issues they care about and create stories with positive impact. Congratulations to winners Amber and Lauren for their unique and highly creative perspective on the story of chewing gum. Incredibly well researched, beautifully illustrated using stop motion techniques, with a cyclical narrative and strong take-away message and solutions for a cleaner environment and healthier society.”

Although Amber and Lauren faced tough competition from students around the country, their innovative use of animation and their storytelling skills captured the judges’ attention and helped them claim the overall prize.

Fellow judge of the competition, the EPA’s Helen Bruen said,

“We were blown away with the level of research, skill, time and effort that went into each project. With this competition, we seek to encourage students think more carefully about the impact of their consumption behaviours on the environment and how to use and dispose of their stuff in a sustainable way. In our view, all the students who entered are winners because in doing the project they have done just that.”

Remarking on the winning video The Story of Your Stuff judge and Producer of RTE TV’s Eco Eye Marcus Stewart said,

“The winning video demonstrated creativity and originality in delivering the message that all the items we use have a story. Their video on chewing gum was not only unique but informative. Who knew that there was biodegradable chewing gum and mugs made from recycled gum?”

The prize for Amber and Lauren includes a €500 cheque for themselves and an additional €500 cheque for their school, Presentation Secondary School Milltown, Killarney, Co. Kerry. The school will also enjoy a presentation by Easkey Britton as part of the prize. All information about the winning video can be found on The Story of Your Stuff website.

Source: Environmental Protection Agency

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