A drive to increase awareness about reducing waste across Europe kicked off this week.
The European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) scheme runs between the 16th to the 24th of November and encourages businesses, schools and individual citizens to change their habits in managing the 2.5 billion tonnes of waste generated by the EU every year.
More than 12,600 actions – ranging from a simple e-mail to awareness-raising campaigns – are expected to be implemented this year in 23 countries. They will focus on the various stages of a product’s life cycle from production, consumption and reuse to selective collection and recycling.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “There is enormous potential in reusing and recycling waste. We are making great progress in moving up the waste hierarchy… reducing landfilling and increasing recycling. Grassroots initiatives like the European Week of Waste Reduction are an important way of involving everyone in the creation of a zero-waste society.”
A study carried out for the Commission estimates that full implementation of the EU waste legislation – such as preventing waste, reusing and recycling – could save €72 billion (£60.4bn) a year, increase the annual turnover of the EU waste management and recycling sector by €42 billion (£35.2bn) and create over 400,000 jobs by 2020.
Last week a British recycling firm suggested eliminating food waste in UK households, businesses and the public sector would generate more than 1 terrawatt-hour (Twh) electricity a year.