A week of waste reduction campaigns

December 11, 2009 at 11:23 am

At the end of last month the UK joined nine other countries in the first annual European Week for Waste Reduction. This comes as the UK was criticised for failing to meet many of the European Union’s objectives for recycling and waste reduction.

2,151 national and regional campaigns took place. They promoted the various ways in which we as consumers can help to reduce the amount of rubbish that is dumped at landfill sites. The UK’s contribution was significant: 141 innovative campaigns were instigated by councils and waste management organisations.

Most of the initiatives were held in East Anglia, Wales and Scotland, and focussed on dealing with the waste produced by shoppers.

In Wales, 29 campaigns took place. These included swap events and initiatives encouraging the reduction of food waste. Reusable nappies and sustainable food purchasing were promoted, and the public were encouraged to refuse junk mail.

Owain Griffiths, head of Waste Awareness Wales, said: “The best way to ensure the least harm to our planet is to reduce the amount of rubbish we produce in the first place.” He suggested people be more selective about what they buy from the supermarket and that they choose products with no packaging.

An advertising campaign was also launched. It suggested that our unwillingness to recycle will negatively affect our children’s future. The advert depicts children struggling to recycle without their parents’ help.

In schools across Swansea swapping events were held. Pupils took in CDs, DVDs, games, books and toys to be recycled.

Scotland saw the initiation of 32 campaigns, and Belfast city council has planned a number of television and radio adverts.

In Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Peterborough buses promoting recycling travelled the streets.

In view of all these innovative schemes, it would appear that recycling is just one of many simple steps we can take to reduce the amount of waste that we generate.

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