LIFE project promotes effective communication approaches for encouraging waste reduction

Waste reduction is a top priority for the EU’s Waste Framework Directive and LIFE has been co-financing a major EU level initiative promoting waste reduction over the last three years. Using support from the LIFE Information & Communication component, the ‘European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR)’ project has made beneficial progress in raising awareness about this important European policy goal across many countries.

LIFE’s inputs into the EWWR came to a conclusion recently with the project’s final conference, held in Paris. The conference focused on the important role that effective communication methods can play in promoting opportunities for reducing the amount of waste that society creates.

Speakers from six different countries (Belgium, Ireland, UK-Scotland, PT, Italy & Spain) presented and discussed a range of successful, often innovative, approaches to communicating waste reduction messages. Some 450 people attended the ‘EWWR’ project’s dissemination event, which was also designed to act as part of the LIFE 20 Years celebrations.

By networking such experience exchanges, the LIFE project contributed to other aspects of its work which includes providing an international platform for cooperation and knowledge transfer on low-cost/high-value waste reduction actions.

During the conference an award ceremony was held to recognise and applaud good practice examples of these types of waste reduction actions – which do not require significant investments but produce valuable contributions to the Waste Framework Directive objectives.

Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, congratulated the LIFE project and its award-winners through a video message that was broadcast at the conference.

Five prize categories made up the EWWR award scheme and these covered different types of waste reduction actions by: administrations and public sector authorities; NGOs and associations; business and industry; education establishments; with a final category available for EWWR actions carried out by other types of promoters.

Award-winners were selected from more than 7000 different EWWR actions that took place during November 2011 in 32 countries throughout Europe and beyond. Out of these, 89 were pre-selected and submitted to an independent jury made up of European waste management specialists representing each category.

Austrian applicants from the agricultural and winery sector in Styria won the prize in the administration category for their efforts to increase the re-use of wine bottles.

Turkey’s Junior Chamber International Izmir took home the NGO award for an effective waste reduction project involving a beach clean-up as well as work raising awareness among schools, businesses and consumers.

Business & industry category winners came from Belfast in the UK, where a social enterprise providing student accommodation services received recognition for its successful approach to recycling materials and minimising carbon footprints.

Sweden’s Bjurhovda School Restaurant received the award for the best EWCC action in 2011 taken forward by an education establishment. Here, the focus was on reducing food waste through a novel approach to highlighting how much food could be saved by changing behaviour.

A project taking place in 162 nursing homes throughout France won the prize in the ‘others’ category. This initiative was acknowledged for its ability to encourage younger and older generations to work together to tackle waste challenges.

Full details about the EWWR award scheme can be found on the project website, which includes reference to the special additional prize that was awarded to the Catalan Waste Agency in recognition of its long-term achievements throughout the LIFE project’s duration.

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