By Tom Goulding
Coordinators of a Europe-wide waste minimisation initiative have called on England and Wales to increase awareness of the programme as it gets underway across the continent.
The European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR), which runs from November 16-24, sees authorities around the continent raise awareness of ways to minimise waste and encourage change in everyday behaviour to reduce the amount people throw away.
But, European coordinator of the campaign Philippe Micheaux Naudet today (November 18) said he was disappointed by the lack of government involvement in England and Wales either directly or through government funded bodies, with events being organised on a local level only.
Mr Naudet, who is also waste prevention manager at the Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling and Sustainable Resource Management (ACR+) told letsrecycle.com: After 2010, Wales said it did not have the time to participate in the EWWR, stating language was an issue because it had to translate the campaign.
We are hoping to have them come back because other nations in the UK are really good at taking part. After Wales achieved its recycling target recently this is an opportunity for them to show what they are doing.
He added: It is a little bit sad we dont have a coordinator for either England or Wales. In England, we contacted Defra who told us they were too busy. We have been forced to organise this on a local level with local coordinators coming forward in such places as London, Oxfordshire, and Merseyside.
In Wales, a number of small-scale activities are due to take place throughout the week, including a school workshop in Chepstow, a community clean up in Aberffraw, and a food waste recycling stall in Carmarthen.
Meanwhile, Scotlands official organiser for the event Zero Waste Scotland has outlined some of the ways householders can reuse everyday products such as taking clothes to charity shops, retreading tyres, and buying reusable shopping bags.
“We are hoping to have them come back because other nations in the UK are really good at taking part. After Wales achieved its recycling target recently this is an opportunity for them to show what they are doing”
Philippe Micheaux Naudet, EWWR
In Perth & Kinross, temporary collection points have been set up in libraries and leisure centres for householders to donate unwanted waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), while Aberdeen city council will stage an upcycled craft fair this Saturday (November 23) to coincide with the campaign.
Elsewhere in the country, the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) has also planned a week of activities starting today with a food waste information stall in Enfield. Events for the week include a Super Swish at Islington Assembly Hall on November 24 which invites residents to trade up to 10 unwanted items of clothing.
Councillor Clyde Loakes, chair of the NLWA, said: The events taking place in the seven north London boroughs during the European Week for Waste Reduction are designed to help people to both reduce the amount of waste that they create and save money. Coming to our events could help improve your community, save the planet, and save the pennies in your pocket.
In Northern Ireland, where the campaign has been coordinated by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), Lisburn city council has adopted a love food hate waste theme, dispersing leaflets and kitchen caddies, while promoting the importance of reuse at its schools where it is currently collecting 1.5 tonnes of food waste per week.
Chairman of the council’s environmental services committee, councillor Jenny Palmer, said: “It is great to see food waste recycling being implemented in school and meals kitchens in the Lisburn area. Our officers have been working closely with the SEELB, school staff and students to try and increase the amount of food waste that is diverted from landfill and recycled into compost using our brown bin collection service.
Part of the EU’s LIFE+ programme, EWWR estimates that over 12,000 actions to reuse, reduce and recycle will take place in 23 European countries throughout the week.