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actions in 2015

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Reduce - Strict avoidance and reduction at source

Reduce means using fewer resources in the first place. It includes strict avoidance as well as reduction at source. Waste reduction can be defined as the complete range of measures and actions taken up before a substance, material or product becomes waste.

The best waste is the one that is not produced!

On this page you will find a comprehensive selection of ideas for actions you can implement during the EWWR with focus on reducing waste by strict avoidance and reduction at source. In addition, we invite you to have a look at the case studies of successful reduce actions implemented in the past editions of the EWWR.

Reduce Waste
Action EWWR 2013: Save the leftovers! Helsingborg, SE. © NSR

Ideas for action - REDUCE

Information campaigns:

  • Exhibition or information booth to inform about the environmental, social and economic impact of waste and the need to reduce waste
  • Round-table discussion or a conference to inform and discuss the issue
  • Produce videos on the impact of the waste we produce and the need to reduce waste and publish it via all channels available (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, TV, Cinema…)
  • Site visits (such as: composting, social economy, repair stores for bikes, tools, clothes, furniture or electronic goods), followed by a discussion
  • Screening of awareness-raising movies (Trashed, Plastic Paradise, Bag it!, Waste Land) followed by a discussion and concrete everyday tips for the audience
  • Waste reduction competition (of short movies/games/posters etc.)
  • Promotion of No Junk Mail stickers for letterboxes
  • Showcasing the reduced environmental impact of your work-place because of the measures taken with regard to waste prevention
  • Interact with and question children on their waste production and their actual awareness of their daily school (and after school) activities
  • Brainstorming session at school: How can we reduce the waste we produce at school?
  • Initiate an “eco-citizen loyalty card” that rewards eco-behaviour or promotes sustainable business

Reduce the use of resources:

  • “Water Bar” action: blindfold tasting of various types of water, including tap water
  • Activity to demonstrate and promote reusable nappies
  • Waste reduction action at offices (double-sided printing, reuse of one-sided paper, using water from the tab or a water dispenser, glasses/mugs instead of plastic cups, using bulk tea instead of tea bags, etc.)
  • Launch of an eco-design product
  • Adopt a policy of sustainable purchases for office/school/kitchen supplies and production lines
  • Install water coolers instead of giving out bottled water
  • Install coffee machines that accept mugs instead of plastic cups and promote the use of mugs

Reduce packaging:

  • Workshops, for example a course on how the packaging of food could be limited
  • Promote the purchase of unpacked food
  • “Unpacking” action at cash register & raising awareness about single-use plastic bags
  • Shopping trolley comparisons: Who bought products with less packaging? How can we all improve our shopping to avoid over-packaging?
  • Information boards in supermarkets that help the consumer to opt for products with less packaging
  • Promote/offer reusable shopping bags and the use of empty supermarket cardboard boxes
  • Develop a concept on how to reuse the packaging used in your company
  • Adopt a policy of sustainable purchases for office supplies / production lines / kitchen supplies

Reduce food waste:

    In 2014, the European Week for Waste Reduction focused on food waste reduction. You can find factsheets on how to implement actions in the scope of fighting against food waste on the Prevention Thematic Day 2014 page.
    • Zero waste lunch/picnic/dinner
    • Workshop: cooking with leftovers
    • Workshops on the reading of labels (use-by dates, best before dates…)
    • Screening of short movies on food waste. You can contact the Love Food Hate Waste campaign or Recycle Devon, for this purpose, or check the Love Food Film Competition
    • Start composting at home or work
    • Initiate community composting
    • Hand out shopping lists and help consumers to better plan their shopping to avoid unnecessary purchases
    • Workshop: How to avoid food waste when shopping and/or cooking?
    • Improve the concept of the school or office cafeteria to reduce the food wasted there

Whatever kind of action you are implementing: Remember to take pictures and videos and to use what you’ve achieved to develop exhibitions to show the results and to publish via all channels available (media, print, information booth, social media etc.).

Why is waste reduction so important?

Waste reduction is an emergency for the European Union. Household waste has doubled in weight since 1970 and stayed at a high level since 15 years. In 2011, 500 kg of municipal waste were generated per person in the EU Member States (EU-27, average. Source: Eurostat). This waste is the result of non-sustainable modes of production and consumption. Furthermore, the consumption of products (including their production, transport and distribution), represents nearly 50% of emissions contributing to climate change. This increase in the amount of waste to be managed requires more collection and treatment infrastructures, the cost of which puts a strain on the budgets of local and regional public authorities. In this context, waste reduction has become a simple and essential concept in the area of waste management: it is a fundamental technical factor in waste management at local level but also a notion that should remind us of the scarcity of natural resources.