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Local communities champion waste reduction  

The European Committee of the Regions hosted the annual European Week for Waste Reduction Awards Ceremony as part of Green Week 2019

The European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) has rewarded six projects that arise as the best actions of the year in moving towards zero waste in the EU. This annual prize aims at recognising and incentivising waste reduction initiatives from all actors of society. The EWWR takes place every year in November with thousands of awareness-raising and clean-up activities taking place all over Europe. The 10th edition of the EWWR awards show the pivotal role local communities play in reducing waste. The next EWWR will take place 16 to 24 November 2019.

In his opening remarks, the member of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), André van de Nadort (NL/PES), Mayor of the municipality of Weststellingwerf and Jury Member of this year's edition, said: “As Jury Member, I am impressed to see how many different initiatives are being developed across Europe and the great diversity of groups, institutions and collectivities that are actively engaged in waste prevention and reduction. From the European Committee of the Regions and in our municipalities we deploy all efforts to raise the level of ambition of waste legislation in Europe. Yet, without the commitment and engagement of local communities, we would not be able to reach our objectives." André van den Nadort (NL/PES) is the rapporteur of the CoR's opinion 'A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy', adopted in October 2018.

The European Committee of the Regions actively supports the EWWR and its awards scheme by chairing in its Steering Committee and providing support to its main activities such as the annual awards ceremony. 

The six awarded projects are the following:

 1. Public administration and organisation category: Zero-waste marathon. Sustainable school meals. Project implemented by the municipality of Sant Vicenç de Castellet (Catalonia). The mainstay of this action, which included a series of events, was a campaign to promote sustainable and healthy school meals among the three public schools in the municipality. Some 600 students and their parents were involved.

 2. Association/NGO category: The Cloughmills library of things, implemented by the Cloughmills Community Action Team (Northern Ireland). This organiser put a different spin on the concept of library: by lending out hardware instead of books, the team sought to build the capacity of the local community to perform chores locally and to reduce waste by eschewing the need for residents to purchase the items themselves.

 3. Business/Industry category: Emerging pollutants, implemented by the IMQ Zorrotzaurre Clinic (Basque Country). In an effort to mitigate its environmental impact, this clinic classified the chemicals in the products used in four of its departments based on their effect on the environment. The next step is to substitute the most harmful ones with more sustainable alternatives.

 4. Educational establishment category: EWWR Green cleaning, implemented by St Fintan's National School (Ireland). Some 180 students from this school, together with their parents, participated in workshops to learn how to make cleaning products and toiletries that were free of hazardous chemicals.

5. Citizen(s) category: Festive bio-waste weigh ins, implemented by Marina Seder Colomina and Morgane Robert (Les Lilas, Île-de-France). In an effort to better understand the positive impact of two bio-waste collection sites in their town, these residents encouraged depositors to participate in a waste measurement study, while also building stronger community ties.

 6. The European Special Prize category: EWWR Sustainable Art Alphabet, implemented by Col-legi Sant Josep in Navàs (Catalonia) and its partner schools Part of an eTwinning project, this initiative encouraged students to learn about sustainability while honing their team working and foreign language skills. The result was an alphabet, the letters of which correspond to meaningful messages about the environment and waste reduction.

Background:
For more information about the EWWR Awards winners and finalists, please have a look at the comprehensive Press File available here.

In 2018, at its 10th edition, the EWWR put an emphasis on the topic of Hazardous Waste under the slogan "Time to Detox!". It drew the public's attention to the often hidden, but harmful substances encountered in everyday products and activities.

The number of actions carried out as part of the EWWR 2018 reached a record of 14,347. They were registered via 32 national, regional and local coordinators in 30 countries and in cooperation with the EWWR Secretariat.

The next EWWR edition between 16 to 24 November 2019. It will focus on waste education and communication. More information please click here.

Contacts:

EWWR: Carmen Valache | cv@acrplus.org  | +32 (0) 2 234 65 07

CoR: David Crous | david.crous@cor.europa.eu  | +32 (0) 470 88 10 37